Wonderful Japan – Honshu

By | Jul 21, 2017 | Views: 320
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a. Intro

(By Tsem Rinpoche and Pastor David)

Japan, called Nihon-koku in its native Japanese, literally means the ‘State of Japan’. It is an East Asian island nation in the fringes of the Pacific Ocean, right on the eastern coast of the Asian mainland and the Korean Peninsular. To the north is the Sea of Okhotsk, and to the southwest is the East China Sea and Taiwan.

Nihon is traditionally written with Chinese characters (kanji), with the word ‘ni’ literally meaning ‘the sun’ and the word ‘hon’ (sometimes read as ‘pon’) meaning ‘origin’. Hence, when placed together, ‘Nihon’ literally means ‘origin of the sun’. In direct reference to this name, Japan is often referred to by its famous epithet, ‘Land of the Rising Sun’.

Click on image to enlarge

Japan is geographically a stratovolcanic archipelago of about 6,852 islands, many of which are tiny islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, which make up to 97 percent of Japan’s landmass. These four major islands are often referred to as home islands.

The island of Hokkaido is the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa is the southernmost. Japan’s population has 127 million people, which is the 11th largest in the world. Ethnically Japanese people make up 98.5 percent of the population, and 9.1 million alone live in Tokyo city, the capital of the nation.

 

Brief History

Japan’s geographical location on the outermost region of Asia has had a profound impact on its history. The country is close enough to the Asian mainland to maintain contact, yet far enough to be independent. Hence, much of Japanese history has been oscillating between openness and closure to the outside world. It is only until recently that Japan has accepted foreign cultural influences in burst and spurts.

Semi-mythical Emperor Jimmu was the progenitor of the Japanese imperial lineage during the 7th Century BCE

Semi-mythical Emperor Jimmu was the progenitor of the Japanese imperial lineage during the 7th Century BCE

The earliest records of Japan date back to the 5th century BCE but archaeological discoveries indicate that the earliest settlement extend even further back to 50,000 years ago. According to Japanese records, the semi-mythical Emperor Jimmu ascended the throne in the 7th century BCE, and started an imperial lineage that extends to this day. Archaeological findings trace the imperial line down to the Kofun Period of the 3rd to 7 centuries CE, which was also the period when the Japanese had its first contact with China and Korea. Later on during the Asuka period, Japan became an increasingly centralised state, and many aspects of Chinese civilisation were absorbed including, Mahayana Buddhism and Confucianism.

The first Japanese state was established with its capital at Nara, a city that was modeled after the Chinese capital of Chang’an. Historians have since called this period the Nara Period and it was during this time that the emperor actually held absolute political power. However, political power was wrested away and fell into the hands of court nobles during the Heian Period, which saw the capital being moved to Kyoto, which was known as Heian-Kyo. The imperial residence was established there and would remain right up to the 19th century. Chinese influence on Japan reached its zenith during the early Heian Period that saw Buddhism becoming widely accepted by the masses.

Heian period royal attire

Heian period royal attire

Then came the Kamakura period, when the samurai gained political power, with Minamoto no Yoritomo as their leader and called Shogun by the emperor. The shogun ruled from his base at Kamakura until the subsequent period, the Muromachi period, which saw the rise of the Ashikaga shogunate that ruled from their base at Ashikaga. Then, in the 15th century, Japan descended into the anarchy of the Warring States period that ended with the unification of Japan by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1600, and founded the Tokugawa shogunate, the feudal state ruled from Edo that is known today as Tokyo. This period is dubbed the Edo Period, characterised by a strict caste system with the samurai sitting on top of the social classes, and social mobility outlawed.

During the Edo Period, the Tokugawa shogunate established stability throughout the country, but their total isolation from the rest of the world engendered stagnation. The Americans pried open the old closed-door policy when US Commodore Matthew Perry’s Black Ships sailed into Yokohama in 1854 and forced the Japanese to sign an unequal treaty. The led to the fall of the shogunate and rise of the Meiji Restoration of 1867, when the imperial capital was moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo.

Meiji period woodblock print art of Sino-japanese war of 1894

Meiji period woodblock print art of Sino-japanese war of 1894

The Japanese keenly observed the Western colonisation of Southeast Asia, and the weakening and division of China by western powers, which Japan had long considered to be the world’s largest superpower. Hence, Japan launched itself into an industrialisation plan to modernise at a frantic pace. Japan adopted modern Western technologies and culture at frenetic pace, transforming Japanese cities with railway networks, brick buildings and factories. Even the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 that leveled much of Tokyo and killed 100,000 people did not transform the Japanese landscape as much.

In an effort to fuel its industrialisation, resource-poor Japan had to look elsewhere for the supplies that it needed. This resulted in a drive to colonise its neighbors, which led to various military campaigns such as the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, in which Japan occupied Taiwan, Korea and parts of Manchuria. Then came the 1904-5 Russo-Japanese war that Japan won, which emboldened and cemented Japan as a military power.

With a totalitarian government, Japan launched a military campaign to invade China via Manchuria in 1931. By 1941, the Japanese military campaigns expanded the borders to include an empire that stretched much of Asia and the Pacific. Then in 1941, Japan attacked the US military base at Pearl Harbor and destroyed much of the US Pacific fleet. This brought America into World War II, and the tide soon turned against Japan. The nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced Japan to surrender, and soon after, Japan was occupied for the first time in its history. The Emperor maintained his throne, but lost his absolute power in the imposed constitution by the Americans. Military conquest had to give way to pacifism with the US taking care of defense; Japan now redirected its energies into the development of consumer technologies and emerged from its postwar poverty to conquer the world once more, this time with the latest cars and consumer electronics, thus attaining the second-largest gross national product in the world.

Post-war Japan emerged as a economic superpower with consumer electronics and cars

Post-war Japan emerged as a economic superpower with consumer electronics and cars

But the frenzied growth could not last forever, after the Nikkei stock index hit the stratospheric heights of 39,000 in 1989, the bubble burst. The 1990s saw the real estate bubble burst, the stock market was halved and there was the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995 that flattened great sections of Kobe and killed over 6,000 people. The Japanese economic recession has yet to fully recover, and this has resulted in an increasing polarisation of Japanese society into ‘haves’ with permanent jobs and ‘have-nots’, known as freeters, who drift between temporary jobs. On a larger scale, this cost Japan its position as the world’s second largest economy to the larger emerging economic superpower China. Nevertheless, Japanese continue to have one of the highest standards of living in the world.

 

Japanese Climate

c. Japanese Climate

Japan’s weather is largely temperate, but it defers greatly between north and south. Due to Japan’s vast landmass, the nation is divided into six principal climatic zones of Hokkaido, the Sea of Japan, the Central Highland, the Seto Inland Sea, the Pacific Ocean, and the Ryukyu Islands.

Hokkaido in the north has humid continental weather that has extended cold winters and a range of cool to hot summers. Generally, there is not much precipitation, but the island has heavy snowfall during winter. Along the west coast of Honshu that faces the Sea of Japan, northwestern winter winds deliver heavy snowfall to the region. The summers are cooler than the eastern part of Honshu that faces the Pacific but some summer days may be blazingly hot due to heated winds (foehn) from the mountains.

The Central Highland of Honshu has the usual humid continental weather, with huge differences between summer and winter temperatures, and sometimes a huge variation within the same day. There is light precipitation, but winters are usually with some snowfall. The mountains of the Chūgoku and Shikoku regions shelter the Seto Inland Sea from seasonal winds, resulting in relatively pleasant weather all year-round.

The Pacific coast of Honshu has a humid subtropical climate and relatively mild winters with light snowfall, but the summers are hot and humid because of the southeast seasonal wind. The Ryukyu Islands also have a subtropical weather that brings warm winters and hot summers. Precipitation on the island is very heavy during the rainy season.

Winter in Japan has an average temperature of 5.1 °C or 41.2 °F, and summer temperatures average at 25.2 °C or 77.4 °F. The monsoon rainy season begins in early May at Okinawa, and the monsoon winds gradually push the rain up north until it finally reaches Hokkaido in late July. In most of Honshu Island, the monsoon rainy season begins around the middle of June and usually lasts for about six weeks thereafter. However, in late summer and early autumn, typhoons can deliver heavy downpours in the wake of strong winds.

 

Japanese Language

d. Japanese Language

The greater majority (about 99%) of the population speaks Japanese as their first language. The Japanese language is agglutinative in nature, and it is structured by honorifics that reflect traditional Japanese society that is strictly based on social hierarchy. Hence, the language is full of verbs and sets of vocabulary that indicate the status of both the speaker in relation to the listener. Written Japanese uses ‘kanji’, which are Chinese characters, and two sets of ‘kana’ or syllabary characters that are based on cursive script and modified kanji, along with the Latin alphabet and Arabic numerals.

Aside from Japanese, there are a number of smaller indigenous languages like the Ryukyuan languages of Amami, Kunigami, Okinawan, Miyako, Yaeyama and Yonaguni. These languages form a part of the larger Japonic language family that are mainly spoken in the Ryukyu Island chain. However, very few Japanese are actually able to converse in these indigenous languages, but local governments have sought to increase the usage of these traditional languages in recent years.

For instance, the Ainu language, which has no relationship to Japanese or any other language of the region, is in danger of becoming extinct with only a handful of elderly native speakers remaining in Hokkaido. In public and private schools in Japan require students to take Japanese language classes as well as English language courses.

 

Japanese Cuisine

A Kaiseki spread of delicately prepared dishes

A Kaiseki spread of delicately prepared dishes

Japanese cuisine is world famous for its distinctive presentation, taste, and method of cooking. It generally can be boiled down to the combination of staple foods, such as Japanese rice or noodles, with soup and okazu. Okazu are dishes made with fish, vegetables, tofu, and other ingredients in order to provide flavour to the staple dish. These days, ingredients such as red meats that were not previously widely available in Japan are now commonly used.

Cold Soba Noodles

Cold Soba Noodles

Generally, Japanese cuisine emphasises seasonal food, fresh ingredients, and its presentation. In addition, Japanese cuisine also has large selection of regional specialties that use traditional recipes from a particular region, and local ingredients. The phrase ichijū-sansai or ‘one soup, three sides” refers to the serving of a typical meal that has roots in classic kaiseki, honzen, and yushoku cuisines.

Honzen is a formal banquet style of presenting food to guests in the samurai homes of the feudal Muromachi Period

Honzen is a formal banquet style of presenting food to guests in the samurai homes of the feudal Muromachi Period

Japanese dessert sweets are known as wagashi, which use traditional ingredients such as red bean paste and mochi, or rice cakes. These days, green tea is a very popular flavour in many desserts, even in ice cream. Another type of Japanese dessert is kakigori, a traditional shaved ice dessert that is flavored with syrup and condensed milk, and is a popular at summer festivals in Japan.

Japanese sushi

Japanese sushi

One of the most popular Japanese beverages is sake, which is a brewed rice wine that usually has a 15% to 17% alcohol content, and is made with multiple fermentations of rice. Another popular Japanese beverage is beer, which is produced in specific regions, such as the Sapporo Brewery, a historic beer company. Finally, Japan is unique because The Michelin Guide has awarded more restaurants in Japan with Michelin stars than the rest of the world combined. This shows how the Japanese pride themselves in serving only the best.

Ramen noodles

Ramen noodles

Tempura Vegetables

Tempura Vegetables

Udon Noodles

Udon Noodles

 

A traditional Geisha entertainer

A traditional Geisha entertainer

Japanese Culture

Japan has a very distinct traditional culture that was initially heavily influenced by China and Korea, but has evolved over time. These days, contemporary Japanese pop culture, like many other cultures around the world, combines various influences from all over Asia, Europe and North America.

Traditional Japanese arts are broken down into many fields. There are crafts, such as ceramics, woven textiles, lacquerware, swords and dolls. In performances, there are bunraku puppet theatre, kabuki dances and drama, noh classical theatre, traditional regional dances, and rakugo storytelling traditions. There also other renowned Japanese traditions like the tea ceremony, ikebana, martial arts, calligraphy, origami, onsen, Geisha, and games.

Bunraku Puppet Theatre

Bunraku Puppet Theatre

The Japanese government has a developed a system for the protection and promotion of both tangible and intangible Cultural Properties and National Treasures of Japan. In fact, nineteen sites have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, fifteen of which are of cultural significance.

Ikebana art of flower arrangement

Ikebana art of flower arrangement

Kabuki Theatre

Kabuki Theatre

Noh Theatre

Noh Theatre

 

The Island of Honshu

Island of Honshu

‘Honshu’ literally means ‘main province’, and it is the largest and most populated island in Japan. The island is a long strip of land located north of Shikoku from across the Inland Sea, south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Straits. The island is what separates the Sea of Japan in the north and west from the North Pacific Ocean to the south and east. In terms of landmass, it is the seventh-largest island in the world, and the second largest in terms of population after the Indonesian island of Java.

Honshu’s population is 103 million as of 2005, with most of the population residing in the coastal areas, especially in the Kanto plain, where a quarter of the entire Japanese population currently resides within the Greater Tokyo Area. This city is the capital, and is the center of Japanese culture and political power since the capital was moved there. Honshu island has several historic Japanese capitals of the past, including Kyoto, Nara, and Kamakura. In addition, most of the island’s southern cities along the shore form part of Taiheiyō Belt, a megalopolis that spans several of the Japanese islands as well.

Furthermore, most of Japan’s industrial areas are located along the Taiheiyō belt that runs along Honshu’s southern coast, from Tokyo to Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya,
Kobe, and Hiroshima. The industries along the northwestern coastline, on the other hand, are mainly agriculture and fishing. Honshu is linked to the other three major Japanese islands by a system of highways, bridges and tunnels.

 

Japanese Visas

Visa-Free

Countries that are allowed visa-free visits for up to 90 days are: EU & EEA member states, Australia, Andorra, Argentina, Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, Hong Kong, Honduras, Macau, Macedonia, Mauritius, Monaco, Mexico, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, San Marino, Switzerland, Suriname, Tunisia, Uruguay and United States/American Samoa.

  • Brunei – visa-free visits for up to 15 days.
  • United Kingdom, Austria, Ireland, Germany, Mexico, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein can apply for 6-month extended stay visas with Japan’s Ministry of Justice.
  • Malaysia, Barbados, Serbia, Lesotho, and Turkey are allowed to visit visa-free for up to 90 days, provided they have a biometric passport. For Thailand, it is only 15 days.
  • Taiwan is allowed to visit visa-free for 90 days, provided that the passport has a personal identification number.
  • Indonesian citizens with a biometric passport who have been issued a Visa Waiver Registration Certificate are allowed to visit visa-free for up to 15 days.
  • Chinese citizens who are travelling via cruise ships do not need a visa. However, they must leave on the same cruise ship in order for them to be qualified for this.
  • All other nationalities are required to obtain a “temporary visitor” visa prior to arrival. The temporary visitor visa is valid for 90 days. You can visit The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website to get more information on visas.
  • If you are just transiting between international flights at the airport, no visa is required as long as you stay within the secured designated area.

 

20 Interesting Places on Honshu Island

 

1. Mount Fuji, Fujinomiya

1. Mount Fuji - 1

Japan has many unique iconic places and Mt Fuji, rising 3,776 meters above sea level, is one of them. Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, and is an active volcano that last erupted in 1707–08. Mount Fuji lies about 100 kilometers or 60 miles southwest of Tokyo, and can be seen from the capital city on a clear day. Appreciation and admiration of this mountain has appeared in early Japanese recorded history from the 8th century. In those days, the volcano was said to spew smoke and thus inspired reverence. In 2013, Mt Fuji was granted World Heritage status, and over 300,000 people have climbed to its summit.

1. Mount-Fuji - 2

The Japanese have a proverb that goes: ‘He who climbs Mt Fuji once is a wise man, he who climbs it twice is a fool’, which seems to have a valid point. Reaching the summit of the mountain is quite a feat and would probably give you a sense of achievement, but be aware that it’s a tough climb that is fraught with danger, and the way up is not particularly scenic. Naturally, climbing season means that climbing routes are packed, and the barren landscape of the mountainside that climbers experience is a far cry from the beauty of the mountain when viewed from afar. The summit crater has a circumference of 4km but a cloud usually covers it.

Climbers ascending Mount Fuji

Climbers ascending Mount Fuji

 

How to get there

While in season (July to September), visitors can take the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to the 5th Station along the Fuji Subaru Line. This station is the starting point for the popular summer hike that follows the Yoshida Trail. Bus tickets cost 2,700 yen each way, and the trip takes about 2.5 hours. Out of season, a bus ticket from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station or Fuji-Q Highland (theme park) costs about 1,750 yen (one way), and the journey takes 1 hour and 45 minutes on average.

On the other hand, visitor can take the train from Tokyo to Mount Fuji that is a little more expensive than a bus:

  • JR Limited Express train (Azusa or Kaiji) from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki, then transfer to the Fujikyuko Railway for Kawaguchiko. The journey takes around 2 hours and 20 minutes, and costs between 3,290 to 3,910 yen each way. Prices depend on whether you transfer in Tachikawa station, and whether it is the weekend or weekday.
  • The JR Chuo Special Rapid Service follows the same route, but takes 10-20 minutes longer, but costs only 2,460 yen each way.

Climbing Season: Early July to mid September
Entrance fee: 1,000 Yen during climbing season (July to September)

 

Accommodation

1. Hotel Mount Fuji
Address: Japan, 〒401-0501 Yamanashi Prefecture, Minamitsuru District, Yamanakako, Yamanaka, 1360-83
Phone: +81 555-62-2111

2. Backpackers Hostel K’s House Mt. Fuji
Address: 401-0301 Yamanashi, Fujikawaguchiko, Funatsu 6713-108
Phone: +81 555-83-5556

3. Fuji View Hotel Fujiya Hotel Kawaguchiko Annex
Address: 511 Katsuyama, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi 401-0310
Phone: +81-555-83-2211

 

2. Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo

The grand entrance to Senso-ji temple where the gods of wind and thunder stand guard.

The grand entrance to Senso-ji temple where the gods of wind and thunder stand guard.

Senso-ji is Tokyo’s most visited temple and it enshrines a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. According to legend, two fishermen pulled this statue out of the nearby Sumida-gawa River in AD 628. No matter how many times they returned it to the river, the statue kept miraculously reappearing. The image is enshrined but is never on public display. The present building structure dates back to 1958. The grand entrance to the temple complex is via the fantastic, red Kaminari-mon, or Thunder Gate that overlooks the busy shopping street of Nakamise-dōri.

Upon passing through the gates, the statues of the fearsome Fūjin – the god of wind, and Raijin – the god of thunder, are enshrined as guardians. An intricately carved dragon can be seen from under the giant red lantern at the entrance. Street stalls line Nakamise-dōri just outside the temple entrance, and sell everything from genuine Edo period handicrafts to tourist trinkets. At the end of Nakamise-dōri is the temple entrance itself, while to your left you can spot the 55m-high Five-Storey Pagoda. This pagoda is a 1973 reconstruction of a pagoda originally built by Tokugawa Iemitsu.

To the left of the entrance is the 5-storeyed pagoda, which was originally built by Tokugawa Iemitsu and reconstructed in 1973.

To the left of the entrance is the 5-storeyed pagoda, which was originally built by Tokugawa Iemitsu and reconstructed in 1973.

It is a mystery as to whether the ancient image of Kannon of Senso-ji actually exists or if it is a myth, because it is not on public display. However, this does nothing to stop a stream of worshippers and tourists from visiting the temple. There is a large incense cauldron in front of the temple, and the incense smoke is said to be healing, and so people rub it into their bodies through their clothes.

On the eastern corner of the temple complex stands the Asakusa-jinja shrine that commemorates the brothers who discovered the Kannon statue and also inspired the construction of Sensō-ji. Historically in Japan, Buddhism and Shintoism are interconnected, and it is not unusual to have both shrines co-exist in temples. The current deep red shrine was built in 1649, which is a rare early Edo period architecture. This temple is the epicenter of Sanja Matsuri, one of Tokyo’s most important festivals in the month of May. Due to its popularity, the entire temple complex is always crowded particularly on weekends. It is also a good idea to visit at night as the buildings are beautifully illuminated and there are fewer people.

The main shrine within Senso-ji temple

The main shrine within Senso-ji temple

 

How to get there

Senso-ji Temple is not far from Asakusa Station, which is served by the Ginza Subway Line, Asakusa Subway Line and Tobu Railways.

From Tokyo Station, take the JR Yamanote Line to Kanda Station (2 minutes, 140 yen) and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa (10 minutes, 170 yen).

From Shinjuku Station, take the orange JR Chuo Line to Kanda Station (10 minutes, 170 yen) and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa (10 minutes, 170 yen).

Address: Japan, 111-0032 Tokyo, Taito, Asakusa, 2 Chome – 3-1
Opening hours: 06:00 to 17:00 (from 6:30 from October to March) for the main hall
Entrance fee: None

 

Accommodation

1. Super Hotel Asakusa
Address: 2-33-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0032
Phone: +81 3-5806-9000

2. Richmond Hotel Asakusa
Address: 2-7-10 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0032
Phone: +81-3-5806-0255

3. Asakusa View Hotel
Address: 3-17-1 Nishiasakusa Taito Tokyo-to 111-8765
Phone: +81 3-3847-1111

 

3. Shinjuku-Gyoen, Tokyo

3. Shinjuku-gyoen - 1

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a large garden and park that stretches between Shinjuku and Shibuya wards of Tokyo city.

The compound was originally the residence of the Naitō family during the Edo period. The shogun had bestowed this piece of land to Lord Naitō (daimyo) of Tsuruga, who converted the forests into a garden in 1772. Since then, the Daimyo’s home and gardens have been converted into an agricultural center after the Meiji Restoration era. After that, it was converted into a botanical garden, before it finally became an imperial garden in 1879. In 1906, the current garden landscape was completed. Most of the garden was destroyed by air raids during the later stages of World War II in 1945, but was rebuilt to its former glory after the war.

Visitors admiring cherry blossom trees in full bloom

Visitors admiring cherry blossom trees in full bloom

After the war in 1947, the management of the park, known at the time as the Imperial Palace Outer Garden and Kyoto Imperial Garden, was transferred to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which is now a part of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

On May 21, 1949, the garden was officially opened to the public as ‘The National Park Shinjuku Imperial Gardens’. Then in January 2001, the park came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Environment, and was renamed ‘The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden’. In 1989, Shinjuku Gyoen was selected as the site for the funeral rites of Emperor Shōwa before his remains were interred at the Musashi Imperial Graveyard.

 

How to get there

Shinjuku Gyoen can be access via three gates:

  • Shinjuku Gate is a ten-minute walk eastwards from the ‘New South Exit’ of JR Shinjuku Station, or a five-minute walk from Shinjukugyoenmae Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line.
  • Okido Gate is also a five-minute walk from Shinjukugyoenmae Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line.
  • Finally, Sendagaya Gate is a five-minute walk from JR Sendagaya Station on the local Chuo/Sobu Line.

Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0014
Phone: +81 3-3350-0151
Opening Hours: 09:00 to 16:30 (last entry at 16:00); Closed on Mondays, and from December 29 to January 3. There are no closing days during the cherry blossom season (late March to late April) and the Chrysanthemum Exhibition (first half of November).
Entrance Fee: 200 Yen

 

Accommodation

1. PA Hotel Shinjuku-gyoen-mae
Address: 2-2-8 Shinjuku, Shinjuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture
Phone: +81 3-5369-3622

2. Hotel Tateshina
Address: 5-8-6 Shinjuku, Shinkuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture
Phone: +81 3-3350-5271

3. Tokyu Stay Shinjuku
Address: 160-0022 Tokyo Prefecture, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-7-1
Phone: +81 3-3353-0109

 

4. Harajuku, Tokyo

Takeshita Street Entrance is rigth at the heart of Harajuku District

Takeshita Street Entrance is rigth at the heart of Harajuku District

Harajuku is the general name given to an area that begins at Harajuku Station all the way up to Omotesando within the Shibuya ward. This area also includes a network of smaller backstreets, such as Takeshita Street and Cat Street, which spread out between the Shibuya ward in the south to the Sendagaya ward in the north.

Harajuku is internationally renowned as the epicenter of Japanese youth, pop culture and fashion. The area is famous for the vast amounts of small, Japanese youth-oriented, independent boutiques and cafés. The neighborhood also has a large array of international chains that feature high-end luxury stores along Omotesando.

Little shops that cater to Japanese youth fashion

Little shops that cater to Japanese youth fashion

The Harajuku subway station is along the JR East Yamanote Line, the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, and the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line. This station is also the gateway to other local attractions, such as the Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, and Yoyogi National Gymnasium. The easy subway access allows Harajuku and the neighboring areas to be some of the most popular destinations in Tokyo city amongst local Japanese and foreign International tourists.

 Japanase youth in colorful Harajuku fashion

Japanase youth in colorful Harajuku fashion

 

How to get there

An option by train is via JR Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line is the obvious way to get to Harajuku. The station sits conveniently next to both the entrance to Meiji Jingu and Omote-Sando. Alternatively, Harajuku can be reached within a 25-minute walk from Shinjuku or 15-minute walk from Shibuya.

 

Accommodation

1. Tokyu Stay Aoyama Premier Hotel
Address: 107-0062 Tokyo Prefecture, Minato-ku, Minamiaoyama 2-27-18
Phone: +81 3-3497-0109

2. Dormy Inn PREMIUM Shibuya Jingūmae
Address: 6 Chome− 2 4-4, Shibuya Jingumae, 150-0001 Tokyo
Phone: +81 3-5774-5489

3. Sakura Fleur Aoyama
Address: 150-0002 Tokyo Prefecture, Shibuya-ku, Shibuya 2-14-15, Japan
Phone: 03-5467-3777 (local)

 

5. Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo

The main entrance to the Imperial palace

The main entrance to the Imperial palace

The current Imperial Palace or Kokyo lies on the former site of the old Edo
Castle. The palace has a large park surrounded by a moat and massive stone walls, and the entire complex is right in the heart of Tokyo, which is just a short walk from Tokyo Station. The palace is still being used as the official residence of Japan’s Imperial Family.

The original Edo Castle was the seat of the Tokugawa shogun that ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867. Then in 1868, the shogunate was toppled, and the imperial palace and capital in Kyoto was re-established in Tokyo. In 1888, a new imperial palace was built in Tokyo over the site of the old Edo castle. This old palace was destroyed in World War II, but was rebuilt.

5. Tokyo Imperial Palace - 2

Visitors to the palace grounds can view the Nijubashi, the two stone bridges that lead to the main entrance of the inner palace grounds from Kokyo Gaien, the main plaza in front of the imperial palace. The stone bridge is called the Meganebashi or Eyeglass Bridge because of its appearance. The bridge in the back used to be a wooden bridge that had two levels, which is why it is called Nijubashi or Double Bridge.

A favorite attraction among tourists is the garden’s seasonal flowers, such as azaleas and hydrangeas grown on the palace grounds. At the Sannomaru-Shozo-kan, or Museum of the Imperial Collections, Emperor Hirohito’s art collection are exhibited alongside exquisite imperial kimonos and Japanese paintings. In the Kita-no-maru-koen Park on the north side of the palace is the Nippon Budo-kan, a famous venue for concerts by foreign artists, the Science Museum, and the National Museum of Modern Art.

The moat near the park is called Chidori-ga-fuchi, and is a famous spot. In the beginning of April, the entire place is filled with people enjoying the view of cherry blossoms. The National Theater is within easy walking distance from Chidori-ga-fuchi, and is the venue of Japanese classical performing arts such as Kabuki, Noh plays, and Kyogen, traditional short comedies.

5. Tokyo Imperail Palace - 3

 

How to get there

The Otemon entrance to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace is a short walk from Otemachi Station that accessed via Chiyoda, Tozai, Marunouchi, Hanzomon and Mita Subway Lines. The palace can also be reached with a mere 10-15 minute walk from the main Tokyo Station.

Address: Chiyoda, 1-1, 100-8111 Tokyo
Hours: 09:00–17:00 daily. Closed on Mondays.
Phone: +81 3-3213-1111

 

Accommodation

1. Imperial Hotel, Tokyo
Address: 1 Chome− 1-1, Chiyoda, Uchisaiwaicho, 100-8558 Tokyo
Phone: +81 3-3504-1111

2. Hotel Monterey Hanzomon
Address: 2 3-1, Chiyoda, Ichibancho, 102-0082 Tokyo
Phone: +81 3-3556-7111

3. Sakura Hotel Jimbocho
Address: 2 Chome− 2 1-4, Chiyoda, Kanda Jinbocho, 101-0051 Tokyo
Phone: +81 3-3261-3939

 

6. Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo

6. Tokyo National Museum -1

Tokyo National Museum is the best museum to visit for those who have time to spare. In here, you will find the largest collection of Japanese art on display, including ancient pottery, Buddhist images, samurai armour and swords, ukiyo-e woodblock prints, kimonos and more. The museum is huge, and if you only have a few hours to spare, then you should visit the Honkan or Japanese Gallery, and the Gallery of Hōryū-ji Treasures, which displays masks, scrolls and gilt Buddhas from Hōryū-ji of Nara Prefecture that dates back to 607 CE.

Standing Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva), dated around 1251 CE, Tokyo National Museum

Standing Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva), dated around 1251 CE, Tokyo National Museum

If you can spend the rest of the day, you should explore the three-storied Tōyōkan or the Gallery of Asian Art. This is where an extensive collection of Buddhist statues from across Asia stand alongside delicate Chinese ceramics. The Heiseikan is the Japanese Archaeological Gallery, which has an exhibition of pottery, talismans, and daily utensils from Japan’s prehistoric period, which is accessible via a passage on the 1st floor of the Honkan.

In the gardens, there are several vintage teahouses that are usually opened to the public from mid-March to mid-April, and from late October to early December. On the other hand, the museum regularly hosts temporary and exciting exhibitions.

Ancient samurai armour amongst the many exhibits from feudal Japan

Ancient samurai armour amongst the many exhibits from feudal Japan

 

How to get there

The museum can be reached via the JR Line, which is just 10 minutes from Ueno or Uguisudani Station. On the Ginza or Hibiya Tokyo Metro Line, it is just 15 minutes from Ueno Station. On the Chiyoda Tokyo Metro Line, it is 15 minutes from Nezu Station. On the Keisei Line, it is 15 minutes from Keisei Ueno Station.

Address: 13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-8712, Japan
Phone: (03)5777-8600 (local) / +81-(3)-5777-8600 (international calls)
Opening hours: 09:30 – 17:00 (last admission at 16:30)
Entrance Free: Adults 620 yen / University Students: 410 yen

 

Accommodation

1. Candeo Hotels Ueno Koen
Address: 1 Chome-2-13 Negishi, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0003, Japan
Phone: +81 3-5808-6100

2. Hotel Mystays Ueno East
Address: Japan, 110-0015 Tokyo, Taito, Higashiueno, 5 Chome-5-6
Phone: +81 3-5806-2420

3. Red Planet Hotels Asakusa, Tokyo
Address: 1-11-6 Asakusa, Taito-ku Tokyo, Tokyo, 111-0032, Japan
Phone: +81 3-5828-0177

 

7. Kabuki-za, Tokyo

7. Kabukiza - 1

This theatre is an old institution with an elaborate Japanese façade that gives a strong first impression. The main structure was completely rebuilt in 2013 to include a tower block. The striking façade gives an appropriate introduction to the dramatic tradition of kabuki plays. Performance details and booking of tickets are available on its website.

7. Kabukiza - 2

A traditional kabuki performance consists of three or four acts that are usually taken from different plays over an afternoon or an evening, which is typically from 11am to 3.30pm, or 4.30pm to 9pm, and they are usually with long intervals between the acts. A headset is available for rent at 500 yen for explanations in English. It would be good to pack a bentō box meal to snack on during intervals.

Since four-hour plays may be too long for most people, there is the option of 90 seats and 60 standing tickets that are sold on the day for single acts. But expect to be at the back of the auditorium that still has an excellent view of the stage. Some acts are more popular than others, so do some research beforehand and arrive at least an hour and a half before the performance.

7. Kabukiza - 3

 

How to get there

By train, take the Hibiya Line or Asakusa Line to the Higashi Ginza Station. Take Exit 3, which has direct access to the theatre from the subway station. On the Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line, or Hibiya Line, stop at Ginza Station. Take exit A6, and Kabuki-za is just a 5-minute walk away. On the JR and SUBWAY, stop at Tokyo Station. It is a 10-minute taxi-ride away.

Address: Ginza 4-12-15, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Phone: +81 (0)3-3545-6800
Website & e-ticket sales: https://www.kabukiweb.net/theatres/kabukiza/
Ticket sales: 4,000 to 22,000 yen, depending on the seating

 

Accommodation

1. The Prime Pod Ginza Tokyo
Address: Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061 Ginza 5 Chome -13
Phone: +81 3-5550-0147

2. Tokyu Stay Ginza
Address: Japan, 104-0061 Tokyo, Chuo, Ginza, 4 Chome- 10-5
Phone: +81 3-3541-0109

3. Millennium mitsui garden hotel
Address: Japan, 104-0061 Tokyo, Chuo, Ginza, 5 Chome- 11-1
Phone: +81 3-3549-3331

 

8. Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

8. Kinkakuji - 1

This is Kyoto’s most famous Kinkaku-ji or the ‘Golden Pavilion’, which is also one of Japan’s most iconic temples. The outer walls of the main prayer hall are layered in bright gold leaf, and this creates a truly spectacular sight above the placid pond. This temple is packed all year round because of its popularity, so it would be best to go early in the morning, or just before closing on a weekday to avoid the throngs of tourists.

8. Kinkakuji - 2

The original structure of the temple was built in 1397, initially as a retirement villa for the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Later, his son converted it into a temple. In 1950, a young monk acted out his obsession with the temple by razing it to the ground. The story of this monk was incorporated into Mishima Yukio’s novel The Golden Pavilion. In 1955, the temple was reconstructed following the original plans, with additional gold-foil extended to cover the lower floor.

8. Kinkakuji - 3

 

How to get there

The temple can reached via bus #101 or #205 from Kyoto station in about 40 minutes, for tickets starting at 230 yen. The fastest route to the temple is via Karasuma line train to Kitaoji, a 13-minute train ride for 260 yen. Then take bus #101, 102, 204, or 205 to Kinkaku-ji, which is 10 minutes away for 230 yen.

Address: 603-8361 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Kita Ward, Kinkakujicho, 1
Phone: +81 75-461-0013
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00 daily
Entrance fee: 400 Yen (adult) / 300 Yen (junior high and elementary school students)

 

Accommodation

1. Coto Kyoto Kinkakuji
Address: 603-83038-46, Murasakino Junibocho, Kita Ward, Kyoto
Phone: +81 3-6427-2960

2. Hananobou Kinkakuji-michi
Address: 603-8305 Kyoto, Kita-ku Murasakino Minamihananobocho 41-3
Phone: +81 75-468-1028

3. Your Pavilion near Kinkakuji
Address: 603-8206 Kyoto Prefecture, Kita Ward, Shichiku Seinancho, 37-13
Phone: +81 80-8866-9157

 

9. Gion District, Kyoto

9. Gion District - 1

The famous Gion District is the old entertainment quarter of Kyoto famous for their geisha. Situated on the eastern bank of the Kamo-gawa River, Gion was originally renowned for its teahouses that offered refuge to travellers and pilgrims on their journey to the nearby Yasaka-jinja shrine. However, the mid-18th century saw the transformation of the area into Kyoto’s largest entertainment district. The best way to experience Gion today is to take an evening stroll around the atmospheric streets lined with 17th century-styled restaurants and old teahouses that are lit with paper lanterns. The journey begins with a walk down the Hanami-kōji main street and into Shijō-dōri Street.

9. Gion District - 2

Towards the southern stretch of Hanami-kōji, most of the old restaurants and teahouses are exclusive establishments renowned for their geishas. Right at the southern end is the Gion Corner and the traditional Gion Kōbu Kaburen-jō Theatre. While strolling from Shijō-dōri along the northern stretch of the Hanami-kōji, a third left turn leads you to Shimbashi or Shirakawa Minami-dōri, which are widely known to be Kyoto’s most beautiful streets, especially in the evening and during the cherry-blossom season. A little up north is the Shinmonzen-dōri and Furumonzen-dōri that runs east to west. These streets are packed with quaint and old Japanese houses, art galleries and antique shops.

9. Gion District - 3

 

How to get there

The Gion district bus stop is accessed from Kyoto Station via bus #100 or #206, a 20-minute ride for 230 yen. Alternatively, the closest train stations are Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Line, and Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line.

 

Accommodation

1. Hotel Sasarindou
Address: 605-0074 Kyoto, Higashiyama-ku Gionmachi Minamigawa 570-102
Phone: +81 75-541-7177

2. Kinoe
Address: 4-44-8, Bishamoncho, Higashiyama-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 605-0812
Phone: +81-75-561-1230

3. APA Hotel Tokyo Gion Excellent
Address: 605-0074 Kyoto, Kyoto, Higashiyama-ku Gion Minamigawa 555
Phone: +81 75-551-2111

 

10. Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kyoto

10. Kyoto Imperial Palace - 1

The walled complex of Kyoto Imperial Palace, or Gosho in Japanese, is situated right in the middle of a landscaped compound of the Palace Park. Although it no longer serves as the official residence of the Japanese emperor, it is still elegant. Visitors to the palace can wander freely around the officially marked route where there are English signs that tell the history of the palace buildings. The entrance to the palace is through the main Seishomon Gate where a map of the palace grounds is provided.

10. Kyoto Imperial Palace - 2

The original imperial palace was constructed in 794 CE, but was rebuilt a few times after it was destroyed by fire. The present structure was rebuilt in 1885 on a different site than the former palace, and was built on a smaller scale as well. To this day, the official enthronement of a new emperor and state ceremonies are still held here, so the palace may be closed during such events. The palace grounds are covered in gravel, so it is advised to wear appropriate shoes.

10. Kyoto Imperial Palace - 3

 

How to get there

Kyoto Imperial Palace is just a short train ride from Kyoto Station along the Karasuma Subway Line and stop at Marutamachi, which is 7 minutes away at 260 yen, or at Imadegawa Station, which is a 10 minutes away at 260 yen. Imadegawa Station is closer to the entrance gate of the Imperial Palace than Marutamachi Station.

Address: 602-0881 Kyoto Prefecture, Kamigyo Ward, Kyotogyoen, 3
Phone: +81 75-211-1215
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00 (April to August) ; 09:00 – 16:30 (September and March) ; 09:00 – 16:00 (October to February)

 

Accommodation

1. Kyoto Brighton Hotel
Address: Nakadachiuri, Shinmachi-Dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8071
Phone: +81 75 441 4411

2. The Palace Side Hotel
Address: 602-8011 Kyoto, Kyoto, Kamigyo-ku Karasumadori Shimodachiuri Agaru Okakuen-cho 380
Phone: +81 75-415-8887

3. Kyoto Garden Palace
Address: 602-0912 Kyoto, Kyoto, Kamigyo-ku Karasuma-dori Shimochojya-machi-agaru Tatsumae 605
Phone: +81 75-411-0111

 

11. Nijo Castle, Kyoto

11. Nijo Castle - 1

The military might of the Tokugawa shoguns is reflected in the imposing stone walls and rampart of Nijo Castle. The Nijō-jō dominates a large part of northwest Kyoto. Hidden behind stone walls, it is an elegant palace surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. This is another tourist hotspot, so to avoid the crowds, it is advised to visit just after opening or shortly before closing hours.

11. Nijo Castle - 2

This stone castle was built in 1603 CE as the official residence of the first Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu in Kyoto. The flamboyant architecture was intended to be a demonstration of Ieyasu’s power and prestige, but inadvertently symbolised the decline of the emperor’s power. In an attempt to avert treachery, the palace’s corridors were fitted with ‘nightingale’ floors that ‘chirped’ as people walked on them along with secret rooms that held bodyguards.

The entrance to palace grounds is through the grand Kara-mon gate as you enter Ninomaru Palace, which is a five building complex with many chambers. The Ōhiroma Yon-no-Ma, or Fourth Chamber, is particularly renowned for its stunning painted screens. When visiting the castle, the Ninomaru Palace Garden is not to be missed, as it designed by renowned landscape architect and tea master Kobori Enshū.

11. Nijo Castle - 3

 

How to get there

Nijo Castle is just a short stroll from Nijojo-mae Station, a stop along the Tozai Subway Line. From Kyoto Station, take the Karasuma Subway Line to Karasuma-Oike Station and transfer to the Tozai Line to Nijojo-mae Station. The train ride takes about 15 minutes and costs 260 yen.

On the other hand, buses numbers 9, 50 or 101 (every 15-20 minutes for 230 yen) from Kyoto city go to the castle or from Shijo-Kawaramachi by Kyoto City Bus number 12 (every 15 minutes, 230 yen one way).

Address: 604-8301 Kyoto Prefecture, Nakagyo Ward, Nijojocho, 541
Phone: +81 75-841-0096
Opening hours: 08:45 to 17:00 (last entry at 16:00); entry to Ninomaru from 09:00 to 16:00
Entrance fee: 600 Yen

 

Accommodation

1. Taberu Tomaru Nijo Castle
Address: 604-0051, 270-1 Nijoaburanokojicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto Prefecture 604-0051
Phone: +81 75-746-6208

2. Guest House Rinn Nijo Castle
Address: 604-8324 Kyoto Prefecture, Nakagyo Ward, Aneinokumacho, 324
Phone: +81 75-801-8200

3. Fukuya Stay Nijo Castle
Address: 24-21 Jurakumawarihigaisimachi, Kyoto city, 604-8404
Phone: +81 75-203-9865

 

12. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto

12. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest -1

Upon entering this green bamboo grove, one feels as if you have entered into another realm. The thick green bamboo stalks give the illusion that the forest goes on endlessly in every direction, and the light that filters through has an ethereal quality. It is hard not to take a few pictures in this fantastic location, but photos are unable to capture the mystical feeling of the place. The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove begins just outside the northern gate of the Tenryū-ji temple all the way to just below Ōkōchi Sansō villa.

12. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest -2

12. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest -3

 

How to get there

The quickest route from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama is via the JR Sagano Train Line, which is also known as JR Sanin Line. The one-way ride to Saga-Arashiyama Station takes 15 minutes and costs 240 yen. From Saga-Arashiyama Station, central Arashiyama can be reached in a 5-10 minute walk.

 

Accommodation

1. Arashiyama Bamboo Guest House
Address: 616-8373, 4-16 Sagatenryuji Kurumamichicho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-8373, Japan
Phone: +44 (0)1775 843417

2. Hotel Binario Saga-Arashiyama
Address: Japan, 616-8372 Kyoto Prefecture, Ukyo Ward, Sagatenryuji Hiromichicho, 3-4
Phone: +81 75-871-9711

3. Togetsutei
Address: 54-4 Arashiyama Nakaoshita-cho, Nishikyo-ku, 616-0004, Kyoto Prefecture
Phone: +81 75-871-1310

 

13. Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Hiroshima

13. Hiroshima Peace Memorial - 1

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum has a collection of items that was taken from the aftermath of the atomic bomb that befell the city. With displays such as torn clothes from victims, melted lunch boxes, a watch that stopped precisely at 8.15am, and photographs from the aftermath of the atomic bomb, the exhibition is poignant and a little disturbing. However, the museum is a must-visit when one is in Hiroshima.

This building was the only structure left standing after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It is commonly called the Genbaku ("A-Bomb") Dome and it serves as a memorial to the thousands of people who perished during the atomic explosion.

This building was the only structure left standing after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It is commonly called the Genbaku (“A-Bomb”) Dome and it serves as a memorial to the thousands of people who perished during the atomic explosion.

The eastern building presents an exhibition of the history of Hiroshima, and showcases the development and the destructive properties of nuclear weapons. Upon exiting the museum, the video accounts of victims are not to be missed. This is alongside the guest book signed by world-leaders, including the first visit by a US President, Barack Obama in 2016, who placed origami paper cranes to symbolise peace.

The main building of the museum is currently undergoing major renovation, and will be closed in February 2017 until 2018 when it will be reopened to the public again. During the closure, some exhibits from the main building have been relocated to the east building.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is dedicated to documenting the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in World War II.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is dedicated to documenting the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in World War II

 

How to get there

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park can be reached by tram from Hiroshima Station at the terminal just in front of the station’s southern exit. Take tram #2 or 6 to the Ganbaku Domu-mae stop. The trip takes about 15 minutes and costs 150 yen.

Address: 730-0811 Hiroshima Prefecture, Naka Ward, Nakajimacho, 1-2
Phone: +81 82-241-4004
Opening hours: 08:30 – 18:00 (until 19:00 in August, until 17:00 from December to February); last entry 30 minutes before closing
Entrance fee: 200 yen

 

Accommodation

1. Hotel Sunroute Hiroshima
Address: 730-0051 Hiroshima Prefecture, Hiroshima, Naka Ward, Otemachi, 3 Chome- 3-1
Phone: +81 82-249-3600

2. Mitsui Garden hotel Hiroshima
Address: 730-0037 Hiroshima Prefecture, Naka Ward, Nakamachi, 9-12
Phone: +81 82-240-1131

3. Hotel Hokke Club Hiroshima
Address: 730-0037 Hiroshima Prefecture, Naka Ward, Nakamachi, 7-7
Phone: +81 82-248-3371

 

14. Himeji Castle

Grand Entrance

Grand Entrance

Himeji Castle is widely believed to be Japan’s most magnificent castle, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a national treasure and one of only a handful of original Japanese castles still standing, as most others are modern concrete replicas.

This castle has been given the nickname of Shirasagi-jō, or ‘White Egret Castle’, in reference to its white-washed exterior walls and its elegant structure towering high on a hill. The castle has a five-storey central keep or tenshū and three smaller subsidiary ones, surrounded by a moat and outer defense walls that have rectangular, circular, and triangular openings for firearms and arrows.

14 Himeji Castle - 2

The walls of the main keep has little holes called ishiotoshi that are meant for defenders of the castle to pour boiling water or oil onto invaders trying to scale the walls as another line of defense. The castle had fortifications built in 1333, but the main structure of the castle was built in 1580 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and renovated by Ikeda Terumasa 30 years later. Ikeda was bestowed the castle by Tokugawa Ieyasu when his army defeated Toyotomi’s armies in a historic battle. In the ensuing centuries, the castle became home to 48 successive lords. In 2014, the castle was reopened to the public after a five-year renovation.

A tour of the castle takes about 1½ hours while following the guided route around the castle. Final entry of the castle is an hour before closing time.

14. Himeji Castle -3

 

How to get there

Himeji Castle stands one kilometer from Himeji Station. From the station’s north exit, the castle can be reached in a 15-20 minute walk or five-minute ride by bus (100 yen one way) or taxi (about 650 yen one way).

Address: Japan, 670-0012 Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji, Honmachi, 68
Phone: 079-285-1146
Hours: 09:00 – 16:00 daily
Entrance Fee: 1000 yen (castle only) ; 1040 yen (castle and nearby Kokoen Garden)

 

Accommodation

1. Himeji Castle Grandvrio Hotel
Address: 670-0940 Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji, Sanzaemon Borinishinomachi, 210
Phone: +81 50-5847-7770

2. Hotel Wing International Himeji
Address: 670-0921 Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji, Watamachi, 132
Phone: +81 79-287-2111

3. Comfort Hotel Himeji
Address: 670-0935 Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji, Hojoguchi, 1 Chome−50-3
Phone: +81 79-286-8511

 

15. Todaiji, Nara

15. Todaiji -1

The ancient capital of Nara is most famous for the huge Daibutsu or Great Buddha statue. The statue is enshrined within the grand old temple Todaiji, and dates back to 728 CE. The Daibutsu statue is the largest bronze figures in Japan, and one of the largest in the world. It was casted back in 746 CE, but the present statue is actually a recast during the Edo period. It stands over 16 meters in height and is cast out of 437 tons of bronze and 130kgs of gold. It is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Daibutsu is enshrined within the Tōdai-ji’s Daibutsu-den, or the Great Buddha Hall, which incidentally is the largest wooden structure in the world. The present building was rebuilt in 1709, but is a mere two-thirds of the original. Aside for the Daibutsu-den, most of Tōdai-ji’s grounds have no cover charge.

This Daibutsu is actually Dainichi Nyorai or Vairocana Buddha and it is the largest bronze figures in Japan, and one of the largest in the world.

This Daibutsu is actually Dainichi Nyorai or Vairocana Buddha and it is the largest bronze figures in Japan, and one of the largest in the world.

The Daibutsu is in the form Dainichi Nyorai, or Vairocana Buddha; the cosmic Buddha believed to give rise to all sacred realms and Buddhas within them. Historians state that Emperor Shōmu decreed the construction of the Buddha to ward off an epidemic of smallpox that ravaged medieval Japan. Unfortunately, earthquakes and fires damaged the statue over the centuries and the head was severely damaged a few times. Hence, the head today has a slight difference in hue to the rest of the body of the statue.

Behind the statue is huge wooden column with a hole through its base. Japanese folk belief maintains that those who manage to squeeze through the hole, which is said to be the size of the Great Buddha’s nostrils, will be ensured of eventual enlightenment. These days, there is always a line of children waiting to crawl through the hole with eager parents taking pictures of them. For bigger ‘kids’, it would be advisable to have your hands outstretched and have someone pull you through on the other end.

Naturally, Tōdai-ji is always packed with tourists and children from all over Japan, and fortunately it is big enough to accommodate crowds, and is a must visit for all visiting Nara.

The smaller statue next to the Daibutsu is of Kokuzo Bosatsu or Akasagarbha Bodhisattva

The smaller statue next to the Daibutsu is of Kokuzo Bosatsu or Akasagarbha Bodhisattva

 

How to get there

Todaiji is about a 30-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station or 45-minute walk from JR Nara Station. The temple can also be reached by bus from either station. Get off at Todaiji Daibutsuden stop, and it is just a 5-10-minute walk to Todaiji’s main prayer hall.

Address: Japan, 630-8211 Nara Prefecture, Zoshicho, 406-1
Phone: +81 742-22-5511
Opening hours: 8:00 to 16:30 (November to February) ; 8:00 to 17:00 (March) ; 7:30 to 17:30 (April to September) ; 7:30 to 17:00 (October)
Entrance fee: 500 yen

 

Accommodation

1. New Wakasa Ryokan Nara
Address: 630-8274 Nara, Kitahanda Higashimachi 1
Phone: +81 742-23-5858

2. Comfort Hotel Nara
Address: Japan, 630-8244 Nara Prefecture, Sanjocho, 321-3
Phone: +81 742-25-3211

3. Hotel Nikko Nara
Address: Japan, 630-8122 Nara Prefecture, Nara, Sanjohonmachi, 8-1
Phone: +81 742-35-8831

 

16. Hōryū-ji, Nara

16. Horyuji - 1

In 607 CE, Prince Shōtoku, considered to be a great patron of Japanese Buddhism, founded the ancient Hōryū-ji temple. Hōryū-ji is widely renowned to be the oldest temple in Japan, and has a veritable treasure trove of antiquities. Several of the temple’s hardy wooden buildings managed to withstand centuries of earthquakes and fires to become the oldest wooden structures in the world. Many of Hōryū-ji treasures are now exhibited at the Tokyo National Museum.

The temple consists of two main buildings – Sai-in or the Western Temple, and Tō-in or the Eastern Temple. Visitors can pick up a detailed map and guidebook in English at the entrance. The main path from the entrance is an avenue lined with trees and through the Nandai-mon and Chū-mon gates before entering the Sai-in compound. Upon entering the compound, the main prayer hall or Kondō is on the right, and an old pagoda stands on your left.

This is Yumedono (Hall of Visions), where Prince Shōtoku is believed to have meditated and received visions of golden apparitions helping him with his study of the Sutras.

This is Yumedono (Hall of Visions), where Prince Shōtoku is believed to have meditated and received visions of golden apparitions helping him with his study of the Sutras.

Several treasures are enshrined in the Kondō including the trinity of Buddha Sakyamuni waited by two attendant bodhisattvas. The pagoda contains clay images that depict scenes from the life of Buddha, but they may not be as visible due to poor lighting conditions.

On east side of Sai-in are where two concrete buildings of the Daihōzō-in (Great Treasure Hall) stand, containing many priceless treasures from Hōryū-ji’s long and illustrious past. As one heads east, they will pass through the Tōdai-mon and into Tō-in, where Prince Shōtoku is believed to have meditated and received visions of golden apparitions helping him with his study of the Sutras at the Yumedono, the Hall of Dreams.

Due to the cost of admission and commuting time from central Nara, it is recommended to have at least half a day set aside for touring the temple. In order to get there, one can take the JR Kansai line from JR Nara Station to Hōryū-ji Station (220 yen, 11 minutes). At the station, Bus 72 shuttles passengers to and from Hōryū-ji Monmae (180 yen, eight minutes). Alternatively, one can also take bus 52 or 97 from either JR Nara Station Kintetsu Nara Station and then get off at the Hōryū-ji-mae stop (760 yen, one hour). From the bus station, walk west for about 50m and cross the road and the tree-line entrance to the temple is visible.

The main prayer hall enshrines the trinity of Buddha Sakyamuni waited by two attendant bodhisattvas along with other Buddha and bodhisattva figures from the 7th century CE.

The main prayer hall enshrines the trinity of Buddha Sakyamuni waited by two attendant bodhisattvas along with other Buddha and bodhisattva figures from the 7th century CE.

 

How to get there

To get to the temple by train, take the Yamatoji Line at JR Nara Station to Horyuji Station (12-minute train ride for 220 yen). From the station, it is a 20-minute walk or short bus ride by bus #72 to the temple (190 yen, departures every 20 minutes). Get off at the Horyujimon-mae bus stop.

Address: Japan, 636-0115 Nara Prefecture, Ikoma District, Ikaruga, Horyuji Sannai, 1-1
Phone: +81 745-75-2555
Hours: 8:00 to 17:00 (until 16:30 from early November to late February)
Entrance fee: 1,500 yen

 

Accommodation

1. Hotel Nikko Nara
Address: 630-8122 Nara Prefecture, Nara, Sanjohonmachi, 8-1
Phone: +81 742-35-8831

2. View Lohas JR Nara Station Super Hotel
Address: 630-8122 Nara Prefecture, Nara, Sanjohonmachi, 1-2
Phone: +81 742-27-9000

3. Nara Washington Hotel Plaza
Address: 630-8236 Nara, Nara, Shimosanjo-cho 31-1
Phone: +81 742-27-0410

 

17. Kotokuin, Kamakura

17. Kotokuin Temple - 1

The Daibutsu, or Great Buddha of Kamakura, is one of Japan’s most iconic statues. This Buddha is an 11.4 meters high bronze statue of Amida Buddha or Amitabha Buddha and lies in the courtyard of Kōtoku-in temple, which belongs to the Jōdo sect. The construction of the statue was inspired by Shogun Minamoto Yoritomo’s visit to Nara, home of Japan’s largest Daibutsu after the Minamoto clan’s victory over the Taira clan.

The Shogun wished to construct a monumental Buddha statue in Kamakura, but passed away before his wish could be fulfilled. However, one of his court ladies by the name of Inada no Tsubone (Lady Inada) pledged to fulfill the late Shogun’s wish, and so, a huge wooden Buddha statue was sculpted, and then completed in 1243 CE after ten years of intense labor. The funds was raised by Lady Inada and the Buddhist priest Jōkō of Tōtōmi.

17. Kotokuin Temple - 2

Unfortunately, that wooden statue was damaged by a freak storm in 1248 CE and the hall that housed the statue was also destroyed. So Jōkō suggested making another statue of bronze to replace it, and the amount of funds needed for casting the statue and for a new hall was raised.

The statue was probably casted by Ōno Gorōemon or Tanji Hisatomo, both being the best casters of the time, and that statue was completed in 1252 CE. It seems that at one time, the statue was gilded. There are still traces of gold leaf near the statue’s ears. Although the statue was once enshrined in a huge hall, today it sits in the open as the hall had been washed away by a tsunami in 1498 CE. For a 20 yen fee, visitors are allowed inside the statue to see how the ancient sculptors piece the 850-tonne statue together.

17. Kotokuin Temple - 3

 

How to get there

The Kotokuin temple is located at a 5-10 minute walk from Hase Station, the third station from Kamakura city along the Enoden railway line. From Kamakura Station, all buses from stops 1 and 6 at the east exit shuttle to Daibutsu-mae stop for 190 yen. Alternatively, one can take the Enoden Enoshima line to Hase Station and walk north for about eight minutes before arriving at the entrance of the temple. The Enoden line is a streetcar-like train that connects Kamakura with Enoshima and Fujisawa. Its station in Kamakura is located just next of JR Kamakura Station.

Address: 4-2-28, Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0016, Japan
Phone: 0467 22 0703
Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:30 (April–September) ; 08:00 – 17:00 (October- March) ; Last entry 15 minutes before closing
Entrance fee: 200 yen (Adults & Students aged 13-18) ; 150 yen (Students aged 6-12) ; 20 yen per person who want to enter inside the Buddha

 

Accommodation

1. Kamakura Guest House & Bar
Address: 248-0021 Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura, Sakanoshita, 11-7
Phone: +81 467-33-5118

2. Kamakura Park Hotel
Address: 248-0021 Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura, Sakanoshita, 33-6
Phone: +81 467-25-5121

3. Kamakura Prince Hotel
Address: 1 Chome-2-18 Shichirigahamahigashi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0025
Phone: +81 467-32-1111

 

18. Ofuna Kannonji Temple, Kamakura

18. Ofuna Kannonji Temple -1

Ōfuna Kannon Temple is one of the ‘newer’ Buddhist temples in Kamakura. The highlight of this temple is a 25-meter (82-feet) tall, 1900-ton reinforced concrete bust of the bodhisattva Kannon, which is the Japanese derivative of Kuan Yin.

In dedication to peace, this stone lamp on the temple grounds holds the flame that originated from the atomic fires of Hiroshima.

In dedication to peace, this stone lamp on the temple grounds holds the flame that originated from the atomic fires of Hiroshima.

The temple was built in 1929, and it adheres to the Sōtō school of Zen Buddhism. The rough profile of the bust was completed in 1934 but work was stopped at the start of the Pacific War. It was not until 1954 that the Ofuna Kannon Society resumed construction, and the temple was finally completed in 1960. The statue was fashioned out of poured concrete into a mould, and this was done entirely by hand. There were no concrete trucks used, and the surface of the statue was painted white.

As the temple is dedicated to peace, the casting of the Kannon bust included stones that were taken from ground zero of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cities that were hit by the atomic bombs. Furthermore, the temple hosts a long-burning flame that originated from the atomic fires in Hiroshima. The statue itself has a small museum and shrine for the public to pay homage to.

18. Ofuna Kannonji Temple -2

 

How to get there

Ōfuna Kannon Temple is close to the Ōfuna Station and is about a 5-minute walk from the station.

Address: 1-5-3, Okamoto, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken, 247-0072,
Phone: 81-467-43-1561
Entrance Fee: 300 yen (adults) ; 100 yen (elementary and junior high school students) ; 200 yen (per pax in groups with more than 20 persons)

 

Accommodation

1. Hotel Mets Kamakura Ofuna
Address: 247-0056 Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura, Ofuna, 1 Chome-2-1
Phone: +81 467-40-1192

2. Fresa Hotel, Ofuna
Address: 247-0056 Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura, Ofuna, 1-2 6-5
Phone: +81 467-42-2031

3. Sotetsu Fresa Yokohama Totsuka
Address: 244-0003 Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama, Totsuka Ward, Totsukacho, 16-8
Phone: +81 45-860-2031

 

19. Chuson-ji, Hiraizumi

19. Chusonji - 1

This ancient temple was built in the style typical of Hiraizumi architecture that was prevalent around the middle of the 9th century CE. Chuson-ji temple is ranked amongst some of the most important Buddhist temples in Japan.

The temple was built during a period when Hiraizumi was the northern capital of Japan and was even more prosperous than Kyoto. During this period, the temple was at the heart of the ancient capital, and there was a glorious culture of using gold and silver in ornamentation, also known as the Golden Culture of Hiraizumi. This extravagance has come to symbolise the glory and power of the Fujiwara clan that ruled Japan at that time.

19. Chusonji - 2

In this temple, there is a treasure hall known as Sankon-zo, and this hall houses an extensive collection of over 3,000 National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. The Konjiki-do is a hall covered in gold and silver as it enshrines the mummified remains of several generations of chiefs of the Fujiwara clan.

19. Chusonji - 3

 

How to get there

By train, Chusonji temple can be reached by ten-minute bus ride along the Hiraizumi Loop Bus, or by a 20-30 minute walk from Hiraizumi Station.

Address: 029-4102 Iwate Prefecture, Nishiiwai District, Hiraizumi, Koromonoseki-202
Phone: +81 191-46-2211
Opening hours: 08:30 – 17:00 (1 March – 3 November) ; 08:30 – 16:30 (4 November – End of February)
Entrance fee: 800 Yen

 

Accommodation

1. Chisun Inn Iwate Ichinoseki IC
Address: Japan, 021-0041 Iwate Prefecture, Ichinoseki, Akoogi, Tsukimachi−188−2
Phone: +81 191-25-6911

2. Hotel Route-Inn Ichinoseki Inter
Address: 021-0041 Iwate, Ichinoseki, Akogi Azatsurumaki 33-1, Japan
Phone: +81 191-33-2011

3. Toyoko INN Ichinoseki Station
Address: Japan, 021-0882 Iwate Prefecture, Ichinoseki, Kamiotsukikoji, 2−33
Phone: +81 191-31-1045

 

20. Zenko-ji, Nagano

20. Zenkoji -1

An ancient temple founded in the 7th century CE. Today, Zenko-ji is a national treasure, and home to the revered statue Ikkō-Sanzon, reputed to be the first Buddhist image to arrive in Japan (circa AD 552). However, it has been kept hidden in the temple, and not even 37 generations of emperors have seen this image.

20. Zenkoji -2

Although millions of pilgrims and visitors flock to view a replica of the statue every seven years during the Gokaichō Matsuri celebration, the original statue is never shown. Zenkō-ji’s incredible popularity is also due to the fact that the temple welcomes everyone regardless of gender, creed, or religious belief. Its chief officiates are both a priest and a priestess. The current building dates from 1707 CE.

20. Zenkoji -3

 

How to get there

Any bus from bus stop 1 in front of JR Nagano Station’s Zenkō-ji exit will get you to the temple (It costs 100 yen for a journey of 10 minutes). Just get off at the Daimon bus stop.

Address: 380-0851 Nagano Prefecture, Nagano, Motoyoshicho-491
Phone: +81 26-234-3591
Opening hours: An hour before sunrise to 16:30 ; Until 16:00 (from December to February) ; Until 16:15 in March and November) ; 09:00 to 16:00 (History Museum)
Entrance fee: 500 yen

 

Accommodation

1. Takayama Hostel Zenkoji Temple Guesthouse
Address: 506-0025 Gifu-ken Takayama-shi, Tenman-cho 4-3
Phone: +81-577-32-8470

2. 1166 Backpackers
Address: 380-0842 Nagano, Nishimachi 1048
Phone: +81 26-217-2816

3. Toyoko INN Nagano
Address: Nagano Prefecture, Minaminagano, Minamiishidocho− 1315-8
Phone: +81 26-228-1045

 

Travel Books on Japan

 

Lonely Planet Japan (Travel Guide)

20a Lonely Planet Japan

Lonely Planet Japan is your gateway to the best places and attractions in Japan. Shop and dine in futuristic Tokyo, discover Kyoto’s ancient temples and gardens, or hike up the beautiful Japan Alps with your trusted guidebook. Travel right to the heart of Japan and let your adventure begin!

 

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Japan

eyewitnessjapan

This is the Winner of the Top Guidebook Series in the Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards 2017. The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Japan delivers you straight to the best place and best things to do in the Japanese isles. You could go exploring traditional and futuristic Tokyo, ancient temples at Kyoto, majestic Mount Fuji, and so forth. The accessible Travel Guide provides the most relevant information on all the major attractions at these places to make the best of your trip.

 

For more interesting information:

 

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Pastor David Lai
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About Pastor David Lai

David is a lay Buddhist pastor of Kechara and a longtime student of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Initially a reluctant writer, he now finds himself writing for a living and has published four books including his autobiography, There's No Way But Up and Conversations in Love.

David is a lover of Buddhist art and whenever he can, he shares his knowledge of the Dharma with everyone, giving frequent teachings and writing on his blog www.davidlai.me.
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6 Responses to Wonderful Japan – Honshu

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  1. Anne Ong on Aug 12, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Love this beautiful and interesting article on Honshu. I love japanese food, and the food in the pictures look so tempting! Lol!!! 🙂 Especially Sushi. The scenery are so beautiful! Some of the pictures that caught my interest and attention are…16. Hōryū-ji, Nara. 18. Ofuna Kannonji Temple, Kamakura. 1. Mount Fuji, Fujinomiya.3. Shinjuku-Gyoen, Tokyo.15. Todaiji, Nara. Wish i have a chance to visit this place one day. Thank you Pastor David and blog team for this interesting article. _/\_

  2. Datuk May on Aug 3, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    A visit to Japan is always memorable. The contrast between “Old Traditions” and “Modernity” is very apparent in Japan.

    You will see the younger generation all hip hopping around the newer areas of Tokyo and yet almost like in the same neighbourhood, you find traditional tea houses and even traditional hotels whereby you sleep on tatami mats instead of normal beds. And guess what, the bathtubs in these traditional hotels are really wooden tubs where you have to climb in and bathe in a sitting position.

    Huge heavy industrial factories are also within the same neighbourhood of exquisite traditional handicraft cottage industries.

    Japan is contrasting and exciting.

    Thank you Pastor David for this very well documented tourist guide for any visitors to Honshu, Japan.

  3. Wan Wai Meng on Jul 30, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    One of the things that struck me about this article is that Japan has the most number of Michelin stars compared to other countries around the world. It is an insight into the Japanese soul, that they really push the boundaries of their art and skills to a whole new level. That is the secret of the Japanese success on the world stage.

  4. Stella Cheang on Jul 28, 2017 at 12:28 am

    The castles and buildings in Honshu look grand and elaborated, a good showing of the glorious past of Nihon dynasties. The Great Buddha of Kamakura, Ofuna Kannonji Temple, Zenko-ji and the majestic castles are the attraction of Honshu to me. Therefore, making the colorful Harajuku a stark contrast. Thank you, Pastor David, for this informative article on Honshu, Japan.

  5. Lin Mun on Jul 22, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Japan is such a beautiful and clean place. There are many big and beautiful shrines. I would love to visit Great Buddha of Kamakura and Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto. It is always good to learn about other countries culture and how Buddhism grow in other parts of the world.

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing this informative article.

  6. Samfoonheei on Jul 22, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Amazing …..thank you Pastor David Lai, very informatives and beautiful post.Japan is a beautiful country to visit with so many ancient temples ,cultural ,traditional cities for us to explore .And of course the famous Mount Fiji,the icon of Japan where everyone know about it Japan has a colourful history back centuries ago Its the first ancient of human habitation in the Japanese archipelago Amazing .
    The Daibutsu, or Great Buddha of Kamakura and Mount Fuji are the two places which i would like to visit to discover myself the beauty of it.
    Thanks again for sharing.

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  • Alice Tay
    Wednesday, Nov 22. 2017 03:25 AM
    Dorje Shugden is an emanation of Manjushri in dhama protector form. Dorje Shugden practice has been passed for over 400 years by the lineage gurus. Our lineage gurus have strong faith and practice Dorje Shugden including H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and H.H. Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. All these gurus have achieve attainments and now they have returned in perfect human body to continue their previous life dharma works for the benefit of others. If Dorje Shugden is a spirit and can harm H.H. Dalai Lama and other great masters e.g. from other lineage like Sakya and our lineage gurus, the dharma will not grow and spread to the western countries.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/why-cant-the-dalai-lama-bind-dorje-shugden.html



  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Nov 21. 2017 01:20 AM
    Dharma Protector practice especially Kawang prayer is very powerful to purify our negative karma that accumulated since our countless past lifetimes. If this karma is not purified, it can manifest as obstacles to our Dharma practice and can hinder our spiritual progress. When we practice diligently, Kawang prayer is very effective to clear and stabilise the mind when doubts and confusion arise. Eventually, we will achieve the ultimate happiness of full enlightenment and no longer need any dharma protector.

    Thank you Rinpoche for your kindness and compassion to give us this practice to liberate us from suffering and toward enlightenment.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/kawang-a-dorje-shugden-confessional-practice.html?nomobile
  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, Nov 19. 2017 10:39 PM
    Amazing to have Dorje Shugden in so many styles. Rinpoche is really creative to create and commission so many types and styles to suit everyone so all of us have a chance to connect and practise Dorje Shugden. Thank you Rinpoche and team for getting all the various beautiful paintings within a short time.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/which-dorje-shugden-style-is-your-favourite.html
  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, Nov 19. 2017 10:19 PM
    Puan Sabariah really has a big heart. She cooks and serves everyone regardless of race as she only wants to bring joy, happiness and warm food to the homeless. It is already not easy to cook for 20 or 30 person but she managed to cook for 300 a day from her apartment and even up to 1,000 during Ramadhan. Her work it a great inspiration to many and great reminder to always love and help people no matter what their background is. And now at 70 years old still continue working to help the refugees. So we also should not give up helping others and don’t use age as an excuse.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/the-malaysian-mother-teresa-of-montreal.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Nov 19. 2017 02:37 AM
    I used to hear a few people around me say that they are OCD towards certain triggers. From their description, I was under the impression that OCD means they have low tolerance towards the trigger. With this article clearly stating the symptoms of people with OCD suffering from the obsession that triggers compulsion in doing something, OCD actually is a serious illness. It results in physical or emotional distress. It appears to me that OCD sufferer’s mind are programed to hold onto to a certain perception very strongly. I hope there will be medical help to reduce their fixation so that their quality of life will improve. Thank you for this sharing, Rinpoche.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/understanding-obsessive-compulsive-disorder.html
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Nov 18. 2017 09:22 PM
    I feel very sad for the animals and embarrassing at the same time that our national zoo were in such a poor state. Charging RM 30 (with MyKad) and RM50 (without MyKad) per entry is not cheap and this clearly shows that the zoo is not well managed. Animals are already being captured with no freedom and the situation is made worse with poor condition, unsanitary, lack of food and medical assistance. I hope the authority will look into this urgently and take action to rectify the situation.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/a-living-hell.html
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Nov 18. 2017 09:13 PM
    This is indeed a great move from the California authority and passing it as a law. This move will surely reduce the number of puppy mills and reduce the suffering of animals tremendously. Many cats and dogs suffered as most breeders do not maintain and treat the animals poorly. Hopefully more states in United States and other countries will follow suit on this noble act.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/california-says-pet-stores-can-only-sell-rescued-animals.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Friday, Nov 17. 2017 09:27 AM
    There are three purification practices and Kawang is one of them, most suitable to purify heavy bodily karma as well as clearing and stabilising the mind when doubts or confusion arise in times of conflict or when one is on the verge of giving up on something virtuous. From the sharing by Pastor David, the key to this practice is consistency. Doing the kawang prayer as part of our daily sadhana is akin to building up a strong bond with Dorje Shugden, hence, able to invoke his blessing more effectively.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/kawang-a-dorje-shugden-confessional-practice.html
  • Jason
    Thursday, Nov 16. 2017 11:02 PM
    这是一个很好的佛法教育的视频。仁波切选择了转世到恶劣的环境下成长,但是在这不影响仁波切放弃学习佛法的精神,反而造就了一个菩萨心肠的圣人。仁波切承受很多的痛苦,仁波切不愿意看到他人痛苦,所以发愿要帮助更多流宿街头者给他们援助。
    仁波切的坎坷成长过程给我们一个很正面的教育。环境的影响大不过于我们内心的想法。所以要先修心然后才修行。

    感恩仁波切的教悔使我知道快乐不仅是拥有而是我们付出多少让别人快乐。

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/凡人和圣人的差别.html#comments
  • Jason
    Thursday, Nov 16. 2017 10:18 PM
    This 5 ft Gyenze Statue very stunning and it look so real like a man ride a horse. Gyenze is the increase form of Dorje Shugden and he will bestow us increase in any material or spiritual forms in order to help us in our spiritual path.

    This chapel open 24 hrs and open to public so anyone can visit this chapel anytime. Remember to lit a lotus candle and offer to Gyenze. By doing so, it will lesssen our ignorance and very benefit in our spiritual path.

    Thanks sponsor for contribution in making this 5 ft Gyenze Statue come into real.
    Thanks Rinpoche for conceptualize of this chapel to benefit more people.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/5foot-gyenze-statue-arrives-in-kechara-forest-retreat.html
  • Pastor Adeline Woon
    Thursday, Nov 16. 2017 12:02 AM
    This is an unbiased piece that gives a clear and easy to understand overview of the Dorje Shugden controversy. It is a “as a matter fact” piece that should be accepted easily by the general public.

    It has been a 20 year struggle for the Dorje Shugden practitioners since His Holiness the Dalai Lama imposed a ban on the practice. Families, friends, relatives, couples, etc. were separated due to it. There were many innocent people who were hurt, abandoned and killed because of it. This intended result is totally against the concept of compassion, kindness and equality His Holiness represents.

    Many assumed that all Dorje Shugden practitioners do not like His Holiness and they all demonstrated in his teachings for the last 20 years or so with the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) founded by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. It has been pointed out distinctively in this article that it is not the case.

    His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche has always fought the unlawful ban by peaceful and powerful means – writing and education. His Eminence preaches patience and kindness that reflect on his approach in the face of hate speech, threats, etc. He also taught his students to do the same.

    His Eminence’s approach seems to be more effective as people are being educated on the controversy and many turned their minds because of that.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/huffpost-on-dorje-shugden.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Wednesday, Nov 15. 2017 09:35 PM
    Being creative and making things around us interesting makes life so much more bearable.~Tsem Rinpoche


    Spontaneity is the state of realizing boredom does have enemies.~Tsem Rinpoche

    Boredom is the mind that thinks this is it, when it’s not.~Tsem Rinpoche

    Being creative is not a choice, direction or lifestyle but my natural state of mind~Tsem Rinpoche

    Depression is a state of mind only when you are a piece of wood~Tsem Rinpoche

    Losing is just letting yourself know that winning is not the goal but only part of the journey~Tsem Rinpoche


    When you hate or love something extremely, both leads to sufferings.~Tsem Rinpoche

    Being with someone we love or don’t love should not make a difference to a genuine practioner expunged of the I.~Tsem Rinpoche

    Dorje Shugden is not a cause, a movement or religion but who I am, for that person is compassion, love and acceptance.~Tsem Rinpoche
  • Alice Tay
    Wednesday, Nov 15. 2017 03:44 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche sharing this article from Huffington Post. Dorje Shugden ban is getting more people’s attention in the world now. This is a good time for everyone to think, find out more and understand the truth about this issue. This is no longer about the issue of religious but it is more to the fundamental human rights on their freedom and religious that bring much impact in their life.

    Basically, everyone may wish to have their life is improving and getting better. But, it seems that this is not applied to the Tibetan people. The Tibetan people especially Dorje Shugden practitioners have suffered and facing a lot of difficulties, segregation and discrimination for the past 20 years. This situation is getting worse when Sera Jey Monastery introduced an identity badge system to for its monks to indicate that they were not Dorje Shugden practitioner. From that, we can understand those who are practiced Dorje Shugden were not welcome at the monastic university. This is another kind of discrimination happening now in Tibet.

    I humbly wish that those who are given Dorje Shugden practice by your guru, please continue to have strong faith in your guru and Dorje Shugden. For those who have misunderstand or do not know about Dorje Shugden, please think and understand that our concern now is not only about the religious but the importance of fundamental human rights for people.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/huffpost-on-dorje-shugden.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Nov 15. 2017 03:15 PM
    It is uncommon to read unbiased articles about Dorje Shugden issue, more so on international mainstream media. Many international mainstream media shy away from the issue because it is controversial, it involves a 400 years old deity practice that “outsider” finds hard to verify and it deeply intertwines in the entangled Tibetan-China political relationship. Therefore, I rejoice for the job well done by the Huffington Post for carrying this unbiased, well researched and factual article; it is very refreshing and encouraging for all Shugdenpas, for a change.

    Shugden practice is being accused of threatening the unity of all the Buddhism sects in Tibet. The Huffington Post rightly points out that for the past four centuries, Dorje Shugden was propitiated alongside all these main Buddhism schools without any signs of aggressive purge, as claimed by the HHDL people post 1976.

    The only difference between the Shugden practice and the rest of the Tibetan Buddhism practice is almost close to zero. It is really a matter of emphasis. Yet, the ban initiated by HHDL, in all his wisdom, have been fervently actualised by the CTA over the years. Resulting in the ostracisation of the entire Shugden community, and followed by many abuse, beating and threats that ensued on a day-to-day basis. Is it not the exact aggressive purge that threatens the unity of the Buddhism community?

    The deity is being demonised further with no basis. And the community is accused of being Chinese spy. Interestingly, the Chinese angle became an opportune played well by the Beijing after they learnt of this fall out and exploit the discord against their arch rival, HHDL. Will HHDL and his think-tank finally admit that it is better to lift the ban so that the Chinese can stop using it to widen the divide?

    There is another key issue not being pressed on in this article, which I believe it is out of respect to HHDL. This article did not question why HHDL, a 1989 Nobel Peace Prize Laurette, is not hesitant to show no mercy to his own people practicing Dorje Shugden; which is to go against what he championed for the rest of the world.

    Thank you, Rinpoche and the team for this wonderful and uplifting sharing!

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/huffpost-on-dorje-shugden.html
  • Pastor Adeline Woon
    Wednesday, Nov 15. 2017 06:29 AM
    These videos are very necessary to counter the repeated false claims by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on the unlawful ban of Dorje Shugden. These videos were highly circulated by the Tibetans on social media platform. Now that the Tibetan version is available, more Tibetans can understand the contradictory statements made by their leader Lobsang Sangyay and the kashag (cabinet). It is very important that the Tibetans understand so that they can unite and join force to vote for a different and more capable leaders who will really do something that benefit them.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-leaderships-new-anti-shugden-video.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

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Dear friends, The Dorje Shugden oracle of Gaden Shartse Monastery was authorized and blessed by both Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. He was a favorite among high lamas for his smooth trances and clear prophecies. This video is a one-of-a-kind where you see the Choyang Dulzin Kuten oracle take trance of the peaceful form of Dorje Shugden wearing the robes of a high lama giving teachings, blessings and transmissions. Very sacred and rare video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pawS1TMOe8k
7 days ago
Dear friends, The Dorje Shugden oracle of Gaden Shartse Monastery was authorized and blessed by both Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. He was a favorite among high lamas for his smooth trances and clear prophecies. This video is a one-of-a-kind where you see the Choyang Dulzin Kuten oracle take trance of the peaceful form of Dorje Shugden wearing the robes of a high lama giving teachings, blessings and transmissions. Very sacred and rare video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pawS1TMOe8k
Beautiful contemporary art piece of Dorje Shugden for free high res download here:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
1 week ago
Beautiful contemporary art piece of Dorje Shugden for free high res download here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
The Huffington Post extensively covers the Dorje Shugden issue. I had no idea that this article was being written. I was not contacted, not asked for an interview or asked for any comments, and then it was published and my students alerted me to it. So it was a very, very pleasant and encouraging surprise to read such balanced coverage from such a reputable news website. You can read it here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=149806
1 week ago
The Huffington Post extensively covers the Dorje Shugden issue. I had no idea that this article was being written. I was not contacted, not asked for an interview or asked for any comments, and then it was published and my students alerted me to it. So it was a very, very pleasant and encouraging surprise to read such balanced coverage from such a reputable news website. You can read it here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=149806
དེ་རིང་ང་ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་མཉམ་དུ་བོད་མིའི་ཆབ་སྲིད་ནང་གི་བློ་མགུ་ནུས་པའི་མངོན་འགྱུར་ཞིག་ཞུའི་ཡིན། གང་དག་བོད་པའི་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ནང་ཆོས་ལུགས་ཁྱད་པར། དབྱེ་འབྱེད། ཕྱོགས་རིས་ཐོག་ལ་གང་འདྲ་སྟངས་འཛིན་བྱེད་དགོས་ཀྱི་སྐོར་ངེས་གཏན་སྣུན་ཤུགས་བྱེད་ཐུབ། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-mp-tenpa-yarphel-speaks-up-against-nechung-tibetan.html
1 week ago
དེ་རིང་ང་ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་མཉམ་དུ་བོད་མིའི་ཆབ་སྲིད་ནང་གི་བློ་མགུ་ནུས་པའི་མངོན་འགྱུར་ཞིག་ཞུའི་ཡིན། གང་དག་བོད་པའི་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ནང་ཆོས་ལུགས་ཁྱད་པར། དབྱེ་འབྱེད། ཕྱོགས་རིས་ཐོག་ལ་གང་འདྲ་སྟངས་འཛིན་བྱེད་དགོས་ཀྱི་སྐོར་ངེས་གཏན་སྣུན་ཤུགས་བྱེད་ཐུབ། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-mp-tenpa-yarphel-speaks-up-against-nechung-tibetan.html
བོད་པའི་དབུ་ཁྲིད་ཚོའི་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན་བསྟེན་མཁན་ཚོར་མ་ཉེས་ཁ་ཡོག་གི་བརྙན་ཕྲིན་གསར་པ། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-leaderships-new-anti-shugden-video-tibetan.html
1 week ago
བོད་པའི་དབུ་ཁྲིད་ཚོའི་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན་བསྟེན་མཁན་ཚོར་མ་ཉེས་ཁ་ཡོག་གི་བརྙན་ཕྲིན་གསར་པ། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-leaderships-new-anti-shugden-video-tibetan.html
(Drepung) Dear friends, In the effort to be creative about something as holy and beneficial as Dorje Shugden, we\'ve come out with these new and realistic depictions. One is Dorje Shugden visiting the Potala Palace and the other is Dorje Shugden arising from Drepung Monastery where he lived in Zimkhang Gangma Ladrang as a high lama. Please enjoy and be blessed. Sincerely, Tsem Rinpoche (High resolution downloads: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html )
2 weeks ago
(Drepung) Dear friends, In the effort to be creative about something as holy and beneficial as Dorje Shugden, we've come out with these new and realistic depictions. One is Dorje Shugden visiting the Potala Palace and the other is Dorje Shugden arising from Drepung Monastery where he lived in Zimkhang Gangma Ladrang as a high lama. Please enjoy and be blessed. Sincerely, Tsem Rinpoche (High resolution downloads: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html )
Dear friends, In the effort to be creative about something as holy and beneficial as Dorje Shugden, we\'ve come out with these new and realistic depictions. One is Dorje Shugden visiting the Potala Palace and the other is Dorje Shugden arising from Drepung Monastery where he lived in Zimkhang Gangma Ladrang as a high lama. Please enjoy and be blessed. Sincerely, Tsem Rinpoche (High resolution downloads: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html )
2 weeks ago
Dear friends, In the effort to be creative about something as holy and beneficial as Dorje Shugden, we've come out with these new and realistic depictions. One is Dorje Shugden visiting the Potala Palace and the other is Dorje Shugden arising from Drepung Monastery where he lived in Zimkhang Gangma Ladrang as a high lama. Please enjoy and be blessed. Sincerely, Tsem Rinpoche (High resolution downloads: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html )
I had this painting commissioned. Please read more here on this great master-
 http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=146195
3 weeks ago
I had this painting commissioned. Please read more here on this great master- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=146195
How can all the high lamas of Tibet and all the protectors not be able to defeat Dorje Shugden? This is food for thought: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Bj0254UG-Y
3 weeks ago
How can all the high lamas of Tibet and all the protectors not be able to defeat Dorje Shugden? This is food for thought: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Bj0254UG-Y
致全世界的华人:这是我一份小小的心意:一幅富有古中国传统艺术的作品。希望你们会喜欢! http://bit.ly/2zLOjnK
4 weeks ago
致全世界的华人:这是我一份小小的心意:一幅富有古中国传统艺术的作品。希望你们会喜欢! http://bit.ly/2zLOjnK
“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
1 month ago
“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Download for free this high res photo of Lord Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
1 month ago
Download for free this high res photo of Lord Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
Whatever we can do to spread the teachings of our Guru, we should do so.
1 month ago
Whatever we can do to spread the teachings of our Guru, we should do so.
 These three (Dharma, Oser and Mumu) are super adorable.
1 month ago
These three (Dharma, Oser and Mumu) are super adorable.
Beautiful Vajra Yogini print.
1 month ago
Beautiful Vajra Yogini print.
Beautiful and holy new statues arrived to Kechara Forest Retreat. Please enjoy the pictures: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=146950
1 month ago
Beautiful and holy new statues arrived to Kechara Forest Retreat. Please enjoy the pictures: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=146950
Beautiful old thangka of Buddha Nageshvaraja
1 month ago
Beautiful old thangka of Buddha Nageshvaraja
Dear friends, This meme is powerful. Who you hang around with and the types of attitude they have is who you will be influenced by many times and who you will become in the future. Look at your friends and the people that always surround you to know who you will become. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Dear friends, This meme is powerful. Who you hang around with and the types of attitude they have is who you will be influenced by many times and who you will become in the future. Look at your friends and the people that always surround you to know who you will become. Tsem Rinpoche
October 2017, His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal graciously reading our Kechara album and updates as presented by Beng Kooi and Martin. He was very pleased with our progress and offers his blessings. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
October 2017, His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal graciously reading our Kechara album and updates as presented by Beng Kooi and Martin. He was very pleased with our progress and offers his blessings. Tsem Rinpoche
His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche grants audience to Beng Kooi and Martin in France.  Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
1 month ago
His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche grants audience to Beng Kooi and Martin in France. Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
Recently Beng Kooi and Martin on behalf of myself and Kechara was lucky to have audience with His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He lives in around Paris, France. His Holiness is 91 years old and very healthy and alert. He was the 101st throne holder for Tsongkapa and was the head of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism and was very successful during his tenure. He is a strong practitioner of both Sutra and Tantra of Je Tsongkapa\'s tradition and a master of all Buddhist knowledge. He holds steadfast to his protector Dorje Shugden very strongly. So we can see even the highest throneholders who are masters of Sutra and Tantra also practices Dorje Shugden knowing the benefits.

Beng Kooi and Martin brought photo albums of Kechara Forest Retreat/Kechara and updates on Kechara and our works. His Holiness was very pleased to listen and offered some gifts back. 

This is a beautiful picture and the great blessings bestowed on us from His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.

Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche 
Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
1 month ago
Recently Beng Kooi and Martin on behalf of myself and Kechara was lucky to have audience with His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He lives in around Paris, France. His Holiness is 91 years old and very healthy and alert. He was the 101st throne holder for Tsongkapa and was the head of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism and was very successful during his tenure. He is a strong practitioner of both Sutra and Tantra of Je Tsongkapa's tradition and a master of all Buddhist knowledge. He holds steadfast to his protector Dorje Shugden very strongly. So we can see even the highest throneholders who are masters of Sutra and Tantra also practices Dorje Shugden knowing the benefits. Beng Kooi and Martin brought photo albums of Kechara Forest Retreat/Kechara and updates on Kechara and our works. His Holiness was very pleased to listen and offered some gifts back. This is a beautiful picture and the great blessings bestowed on us from His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp
*****and****
My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li

Fantastic Reads!!
1 month ago
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp *****and**** My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li Fantastic Reads!!
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp
*****and****
My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li
1 month ago
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp *****and**** My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li
This is so powerful. It is a must read and must share.
1 month ago
This is so powerful. It is a must read and must share.
Beng Kooi meeting with the scholar and teacher Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen has been very active and you can see his youtubes in Tibetan speaking about the benefits of Dorje Shugden practice. He is a direct student of Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche.
1 month ago
Beng Kooi meeting with the scholar and teacher Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen has been very active and you can see his youtubes in Tibetan speaking about the benefits of Dorje Shugden practice. He is a direct student of Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche.
Martin meeting with Gen Tashi. Gen Tashi is a very devoted and committed activist of Dorje Shugden\'s cause. He is tireless in speaking for the truth. They enjoyed sharing some time together.
1 month ago
Martin meeting with Gen Tashi. Gen Tashi is a very devoted and committed activist of Dorje Shugden's cause. He is tireless in speaking for the truth. They enjoyed sharing some time together.
Martin meeting with the well known strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist and scholar Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe lak was very happy to meet Martin and shared so much wonderful information. Beautiful meeting.
1 month ago
Martin meeting with the well known strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist and scholar Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe lak was very happy to meet Martin and shared so much wonderful information. Beautiful meeting.
Beng Kooi meeting with friend and strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist Gen Tashi
1 month ago
Beng Kooi meeting with friend and strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist Gen Tashi
Another stunning digital print art of Dorje Shugden from an artist in Peru. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Another stunning digital print art of Dorje Shugden from an artist in Peru. Tsem Rinpoche
This beautiful Dorje Shugden is from an artist in the Ukraine. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
This beautiful Dorje Shugden is from an artist in the Ukraine. Tsem Rinpoche
Please never get tired of speaking for those who do not have a voice. If we can alleviate their pain or try our best, why not? Thank you all so much. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Please never get tired of speaking for those who do not have a voice. If we can alleviate their pain or try our best, why not? Thank you all so much. Tsem Rinpoche
Pastor Antoinette of Kechara arranged a Malaysian artist to paint this special Dorje Shugden painting conceptualized by myself. She oversaw the process and completed it. Wonderful beautiful Dorje Shugden Malaysian style by Malaysian artist. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Pastor Antoinette of Kechara arranged a Malaysian artist to paint this special Dorje Shugden painting conceptualized by myself. She oversaw the process and completed it. Wonderful beautiful Dorje Shugden Malaysian style by Malaysian artist. Tsem Rinpoche
Sometimes after my prayers, reading on sasquatch is relaxing. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
Sometimes after my prayers, reading on sasquatch is relaxing. Tsem Rinpoche
This gorgeous outdoor bronze Buddha is in Korea. Would be lovely to pay homage to Him there.
2 months ago
This gorgeous outdoor bronze Buddha is in Korea. Would be lovely to pay homage to Him there.
Beautiful old vintage photo of Kamakura Buddha in Japan. I had the good fortune to visit this holy Buddha a few years back. I do hope I can go again with some students. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
Beautiful old vintage photo of Kamakura Buddha in Japan. I had the good fortune to visit this holy Buddha a few years back. I do hope I can go again with some students. Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche with Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the Medicine Buddha festival.
2 months ago
Tsem Rinpoche with Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the Medicine Buddha festival.
This is a unique thangka of Pelden Hlamo with Dorje Shugden and Setrap and Nechung. Of course they all get along unlike what Tibetan leadership likes to say they don\'t get along. All enlightened beings get along with other enlightened beings and unenlightened beings. Enlightened beings have no karma to not get along with others. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
This is a unique thangka of Pelden Hlamo with Dorje Shugden and Setrap and Nechung. Of course they all get along unlike what Tibetan leadership likes to say they don't get along. All enlightened beings get along with other enlightened beings and unenlightened beings. Enlightened beings have no karma to not get along with others. Tsem Rinpoche
I love this picture. I wish it will all settle down soon.
2 months ago
I love this picture. I wish it will all settle down soon.
 I love this picture of Mumu peeking through the screen and window to see what is going on. He is always been very busy body and active. He has to know what is going on. I love you Mumu.
2 months ago
I love this picture of Mumu peeking through the screen and window to see what is going on. He is always been very busy body and active. He has to know what is going on. I love you Mumu.
How would you like to get one piece of this beautiful piece of art?
2 months ago
How would you like to get one piece of this beautiful piece of art?
First time PM Tenpa Yarphel speaks up against Nechung. It has created a huge stir. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144220
2 months ago
First time PM Tenpa Yarphel speaks up against Nechung. It has created a huge stir. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144220
I always like my rooms to smell clean, fresh, woodsy and a bit like the forest. my favorite types of essential oils to burn daily or as an offering to the Buddhas are Juniper, Cypress, Black Spruce, Peppermint and sometimes Rosemary. I like the smell of the forest, woods and wooded areas very much. I\'ve been using essential oils in my rooms for years. I don\'t necessarily purchase the brand you see in the picture as I buy any brand as long as it\'s made naturally. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
I always like my rooms to smell clean, fresh, woodsy and a bit like the forest. my favorite types of essential oils to burn daily or as an offering to the Buddhas are Juniper, Cypress, Black Spruce, Peppermint and sometimes Rosemary. I like the smell of the forest, woods and wooded areas very much. I've been using essential oils in my rooms for years. I don't necessarily purchase the brand you see in the picture as I buy any brand as long as it's made naturally. Tsem Rinpoche
In the bitter coldness of Yachen Gar, Tibet, several nuns are practicing meditation. You can see many small single \'huts\' in the background. They do this yearly and throughout the year. It is very inspiring to see people practice even under extreme conditions because they realize how samsara is so full of deceptions. Praise to the Dharma that liberates us with truth and practice. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
In the bitter coldness of Yachen Gar, Tibet, several nuns are practicing meditation. You can see many small single 'huts' in the background. They do this yearly and throughout the year. It is very inspiring to see people practice even under extreme conditions because they realize how samsara is so full of deceptions. Praise to the Dharma that liberates us with truth and practice. Tsem Rinpoche
More than you have....
2 months ago
More than you have....
The holiest place for the spiritual seeker is where our guru abides. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
The holiest place for the spiritual seeker is where our guru abides. Tsem Rinpoche
Beautiful flowers offered on my shrine to Sacred Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
Beautiful flowers offered on my shrine to Sacred Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
This is my favorite image of Lord Manjusri. I had this exact same image as a kid in the 1980\'s and treasured it very much. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
This is my favorite image of Lord Manjusri. I had this exact same image as a kid in the 1980's and treasured it very much. Tsem Rinpoche
I love this idyllic painting of a beautiful Buddhist temple in a small town with foliage, natural, blue skies and country living. I can definitely live in this type of environment any time. I love living near nature. I wish I can go inside this picture to start living there now. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
I love this idyllic painting of a beautiful Buddhist temple in a small town with foliage, natural, blue skies and country living. I can definitely live in this type of environment any time. I love living near nature. I wish I can go inside this picture to start living there now. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Cham Dance
    5 days ago
    Cham Dance
    Cham is sacred dance. A dance that enacts the life story of a holy being. By participating in Cham, one is blessed to see the sacred life story of a being celebrated. This is a cham on Dorje Shugden. It\\\'s a short clip but interesting none-the-less. Tsem Rinpoche
  • The great Gautama Siddhartha meditating intensely is protected by the King of Nagas during heavy rains
    6 days ago
    The great Gautama Siddhartha meditating intensely is protected by the King of Nagas during heavy rains
    The King of Nagas knows this great being Siddhartha will soon become the Buddha. By offering his own body as shelter to the Buddha to be, he honours the state of enlightenment which will be won and gains merit for himself for his future lives although he is a naga now. The pre-eminent Buddha is an object of perfect offering gaining great merits for all beings. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    4 weeks ago
    This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    This video is thought-provoking and very interesting. Watch! Thanks so much to our friends at LIVEKINDLY.
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    1 month ago
    Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
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  • Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 month ago
    Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
  • What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    1 month ago
    What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    Sick animals are more profitable... farms calculate how close to death they can keep animals without killing them. That's the business model. How quickly they can be made to grow, how tightly they can be packed, how much or how little can they eat, how sick they can get without dying... We live in a world in which it's conventional to treat an animal like a block of wood. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer
  • This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
    1 month ago
    This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
  • SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    2 months ago
    SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    This happens daily in slaughterhouse so you can get your pork and Bak ku teh. Stop eating meat.
  • Beautiful Buddha being sculpted from clay.
    2 months ago
    Beautiful Buddha being sculpted from clay.
  • After a while, you are are numb and you just keep doing it. You don’t know what you are doing and you don’t see it for what it really is. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
    After a while, you are are numb and you just keep doing it. You don’t know what you are doing and you don’t see it for what it really is. Tsem Rinpoche
    Please share this as much as possible. Please care. Please help: http://www.patreon.com/weanimals
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  • If you want to change the world, start of by making your bed
    3 months ago
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  • Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visits a Hindu mandir (temple)
    3 months ago
    Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visits a Hindu mandir (temple)
    While on a visit to a Hindu mandir (temple), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks on diversity as Canada's strength.

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A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

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CHAT PICTURES

Your wedding venue @ Kechara Oasis Viva Home #vegetarian #restaurant ~ Guat Hee
yesterday
Your wedding venue @ Kechara Oasis Viva Home #vegetarian #restaurant ~ Guat Hee
Before the wedding lunch, the #children are Q up for Ang Pow #happy #幸福 ~ Guat Hee
yesterday
Before the wedding lunch, the #children are Q up for Ang Pow #happy #幸福 ~ Guat Hee
Reception and photo booth #register #table ~ Guat Hee
yesterday
Reception and photo booth #register #table ~ Guat Hee
Tea ceremony @ kechara oasis #vegetarian #lunch #lovely #couple ~ Guat Hee
yesterday
Tea ceremony @ kechara oasis #vegetarian #lunch #lovely #couple ~ Guat Hee
Door gift #wedding #banquet #喜糖 ~ Guat Hee
yesterday
Door gift #wedding #banquet #喜糖 ~ Guat Hee
While waiting for the next section #study #homework #school #bless #partime ~ Guat Hee
yesterday
While waiting for the next section #study #homework #school #bless #partime ~ Guat Hee
Weekend at Kechara Oasis #partime #homework #student #vegetarian ~ Guat Hee
yesterday
Weekend at Kechara Oasis #partime #homework #student #vegetarian ~ Guat Hee
KSDS parents & students worked together for the discussion during the Talk on Acceptance, Kindness and Helping Each Other. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
KSDS parents & students worked together for the discussion during the Talk on Acceptance, Kindness and Helping Each Other. Alice Tay, KSDS
Ms. Mok Pui Leng has offered lights and incense to Lama Tsongkhapa and all the Buddhas on behalf of KISG today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
Ms. Mok Pui Leng has offered lights and incense to Lama Tsongkhapa and all the Buddhas on behalf of KISG today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has carried out a session of Mother Tara's prayer recitations in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has carried out a session of Mother Tara's prayer recitations in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
KSDS Students are very cooperative & creative in making the artwork for coming event, Graduation / Halloween / Art Event. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
KSDS Students are very cooperative & creative in making the artwork for coming event, Graduation / Halloween / Art Event. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS students age 7 and the above learned to do&paint their own mask. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
KSDS students age 7 and the above learned to do&paint their own mask. Alice Tay, KSDS
The youngest group of KSDS learned to recite Migtsema mantra. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
The youngest group of KSDS learned to recite Migtsema mantra. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS teachers in the progress for the Graduation/Halloween 2017 backdrop. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
KSDS teachers in the progress for the Graduation/Halloween 2017 backdrop. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Peggy gave a talk on Bully to parents and students. Lin Mun KSDS
4 days ago
Teacher Peggy gave a talk on Bully to parents and students. Lin Mun KSDS
Great to hv parents and students goodnight group work and share ideas from different perspectives. Lin Mun KSDS
4 days ago
Great to hv parents and students goodnight group work and share ideas from different perspectives. Lin Mun KSDS
Photographer team for Mid Autumn Charity Dinner 2017. Lin Mun KSDS
4 days ago
Photographer team for Mid Autumn Charity Dinner 2017. Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS team had meeting in Kechara Oasis in preparation for the Graduation/ Halloween event. Lin Mun KSDS
4 days ago
KSDS team had meeting in Kechara Oasis in preparation for the Graduation/ Halloween event. Lin Mun KSDS
Artwork done by children of 2-6 yrs old for the upcoming Graduation/ Halloween/ Art event. Lin Mun Ksds
4 days ago
Artwork done by children of 2-6 yrs old for the upcoming Graduation/ Halloween/ Art event. Lin Mun Ksds
At Dukkar Apartment, Kechara Forest Retreat, this morning, we completed a three day Amitayus Retreat and promised to come together for this spiritually powerful retreat again in the near future. We had looked forward to this retreat and, owing to the blessings of our Guru, Tsem Rinpoche, and Dorje Shugden, it went smoothly and as planned. by Pastor Han Nee
6 days ago
At Dukkar Apartment, Kechara Forest Retreat, this morning, we completed a three day Amitayus Retreat and promised to come together for this spiritually powerful retreat again in the near future. We had looked forward to this retreat and, owing to the blessings of our Guru, Tsem Rinpoche, and Dorje Shugden, it went smoothly and as planned. by Pastor Han Nee
དེ་རིང་ང་ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་མཉམ་དུ་བོད་མིའི་ཆབ་སྲིད་ནང་གི་བློ་མགུ་ནུས་པའི་མངོན་འགྱུར་ཞིག་ཞུའི་ཡིན། གང་དག་བོད་པའི་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ནང་ཆོས་ལུགས་ཁྱད་པར། དབྱེ་འབྱེད། ཕྱོགས་རིས་ཐོག་ལ་གང་འདྲ་སྟངས་འཛིན་བྱེད་དགོས་ཀྱི་སྐོར་ངེས་གཏན་སྣུན་ཤུགས་བྱེད་ཐུབ། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-mp-tenpa-yarphel-speaks-up-against-nechung-tibetan.html
1 week ago
དེ་རིང་ང་ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་མཉམ་དུ་བོད་མིའི་ཆབ་སྲིད་ནང་གི་བློ་མགུ་ནུས་པའི་མངོན་འགྱུར་ཞིག་ཞུའི་ཡིན། གང་དག་བོད་པའི་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ནང་ཆོས་ལུགས་ཁྱད་པར། དབྱེ་འབྱེད། ཕྱོགས་རིས་ཐོག་ལ་གང་འདྲ་སྟངས་འཛིན་བྱེད་དགོས་ཀྱི་སྐོར་ངེས་གཏན་སྣུན་ཤུགས་བྱེད་ཐུབ། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-mp-tenpa-yarphel-speaks-up-against-nechung-tibetan.html
ལོ་སྔོན་མར་བོད་གཞུང་གིས་ཆོས་སྐྱོང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན་དང་འདིའི་བསྟེན་གསོལ་བ་རྣམས་ལ་སྐྱོན་བརྗོད་བྱེད་ཏེ་དེའི་ཁ་གཏད་དུ་ཡིག་ཆ་འགྲེམས་ཡོད་པས། དེའི་ལན་ལ་ཀེ་ཆ་ར་ཆོས་ཚོགས་ནས་བརྙེན་འཕྲིན་ཁྱོན་བསྡོམས་ལྔ་འགྲེམས་ཡོད། བརྙེན་འཕྲིན་དེ་དག་ནང་རིག་པ་དང་མཐུན་པའི་རྩོད་གླེང་ནང་ཡོད་པ་དང་དོན་དངོས་གང་ཡིན་སྐོར་གསལ་བཤད་གནང་ཏེ་བདེན་པ་རྭ་སྤྲོད་བྱེད་ཡོད། དེར་རྣམ་པ་ཚོ་ཚང་མའི་གཟིགས་རོ་ཞུ་རྒྱུ་དང་། གལ་ཏེ་ཡ་ལེན་ཡོད་ན་གནང་རོ་གནང་ཞུ་རྒྱུ་ཡིན། ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ།། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-leaderships-new-anti-shugden-video-tibetan.html
1 week ago
ལོ་སྔོན་མར་བོད་གཞུང་གིས་ཆོས་སྐྱོང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན་དང་འདིའི་བསྟེན་གསོལ་བ་རྣམས་ལ་སྐྱོན་བརྗོད་བྱེད་ཏེ་དེའི་ཁ་གཏད་དུ་ཡིག་ཆ་འགྲེམས་ཡོད་པས། དེའི་ལན་ལ་ཀེ་ཆ་ར་ཆོས་ཚོགས་ནས་བརྙེན་འཕྲིན་ཁྱོན་བསྡོམས་ལྔ་འགྲེམས་ཡོད། བརྙེན་འཕྲིན་དེ་དག་ནང་རིག་པ་དང་མཐུན་པའི་རྩོད་གླེང་ནང་ཡོད་པ་དང་དོན་དངོས་གང་ཡིན་སྐོར་གསལ་བཤད་གནང་ཏེ་བདེན་པ་རྭ་སྤྲོད་བྱེད་ཡོད། དེར་རྣམ་པ་ཚོ་ཚང་མའི་གཟིགས་རོ་ཞུ་རྒྱུ་དང་། གལ་ཏེ་ཡ་ལེན་ཡོད་ན་གནང་རོ་གནང་ཞུ་རྒྱུ་ཡིན། ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ།། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-leaderships-new-anti-shugden-video-tibetan.html
Kechara Sunday Dharma School art activities. StellaC
1 week ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School art activities. StellaC
Kechara Sunday Dharma School art activities. StellaC
1 week ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School art activities. StellaC
Kechara Sunday Dharma school class 4 to 6 years old. StellaC
1 week ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma school class 4 to 6 years old. StellaC
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Dorje Shugden
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